Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lets talk editing

     Seems to me there are two sides of an argument here.  Either one is on the side of editing is king, therefore nothing else matters, or one is on the side of anything but editing is important. Unfortunately for both sides it's not that black, and white. As with all arguments, and  with all subject matters with any importance at all; there are many shades of grey.  Lets take the editing is king crowd first. These people look at a work of writing,of perhaps any kind, from an article in the newspaper containing their favorite comic strips, to a novel by a well known author, with much more than passing interest. It's an obsession. They look for errors because they either can't help not to, or they make it their life's work to nit pick someone else's stuff. They may not be up to the task of putting a book together themselves, so they turn to what is easier for them, clinging to the right, and wrong of what they were taught, instead of using the imagination they were born with. They may not have the spark of creative genius, to render  anything in writing, so as to contribute to the knowledge, the very fabric of intellectual material making up the writing world.  They are perhaps editors themselves, or worse college students who think that because they've got a college professor teaching them how to use punctuation, and review lines for grammatical errors that they suddenly know everything about it. Or, tragically they feel that they are in a position, to preach to the rest of the world, how wrong the rest of us are. But, if we would only look to them for guidance, they will fix everything. Never mind, the fact that school boards meet every year, and I do mean college educators meet every single year, to discuss among themselves how to use, and teach the use of writing, and punctuation. The use of the comma, colon, and semi colon simply cannot be decided, and thus, they're use changes each year. Any one who has talked to their college English professor about grammar should already know this. These people too cannot be defined in black, or white terms because they could be anybody with an interest in editing, or a will to discover what was previously perceived to not exist. Mistakes. It's only natural. It's human. We have an inner drive to discover what isn't there. Each of us. It's not a failing. It's to be admired. It's how we humans built civilizations, and have gone to the moon after all. It's  that can do attitude to find a solution, and if there isn't one than to create it that's won wars. That's spawned inventions that have made our lives easier, and more enjoyable. So, lets now look at the other side shall we. Those that either do not hold editing in such high regard, either because they, heaven forbid, don't care, or because they simply don't know that much about it to do so with any effectiveness. These are the free writers. Those who can spin a tale. Those with a natural ability to simply sit, and talk from sun up to sun down. Those who's stories have captured the imaginations of people the world over. Those who's works will stand the test of time. These are the one's under constant scrutiny from the other side. So what can these people do. if they even care to avoid such criticism? It's up to them isn't it? Damn right. In order to avoid the editing correct crowd they must pursue perfection in editing their works. However, since the rules for editing change year after year perfection can never be obtained. This makes any criticism what so ever completely pointless, and meaningless. I mean spelling is a given. That's something everyone can fix. We have dictionaries for that. Please do reference a dictionary in book form instead of looking up your words on line as much of what is online may be wrong. It should be a mission of the writer to put forth their very best work for public consumption. That is in keeping with the traditions of their chosen craft. Some have an advantage in that others will edit their work for them.  Some have entire teams of editors working on their stuff. Honestly, I have reviewed books edited allegedly by fifteen different editor types, and still found mistakes.  Only one good one that knows what they are doing is necessary. So whether your with a huge company, or independent odds are equal in getting it right. For the writer can also teach themselves the finer points of editing because all the information in current, and past use is available on line for free. Just be aware that this free information like the dictionary may be wrong.  If however you the writer fall into the trap of putting your trust into anyone, but yourself to edit your material before it is released than I'm sorry to say the repercussions are all yours. You must be the one to review your work last. And, you must maintain control of how it looks, and how it's put together if you wish to be happy with what is out there with your name on it. I know of some people who have made it their life's work to create small publishing companies promising hopeful authors the world only to find that they were thieves. And, when things went wrong, when they broke with their hopeful author, when they sent back the files containing said author's hopes, and dreams, they had someone riddle it with spelling, and grammatical errors first. This happens more than anyone knows. And, some e book distributors will replace the sabotaged copies once they are redone, and some will not. So beware of such things, and always, always be the last to see your stuff before it goes out. Now, I think that just about covers it for me.  I hope this was helpful to someone, anyone who may be struggling with themselves trying to figure where they are in this global crisis. I was taught by my English professor to use a book titled a writers reference which is full of rules for punctuation. Keeping in mind she was the one who told me about the meetings each year, and it was the book being utilized for that year.  I however only followed said rules sparingly here. Feel free to edit me. I know where the mistakes are, but it would be fun for me to see what you come up with. Good luck, and best wishes to you all whatever side you are on.

No comments:

Post a Comment