Jump to content
Graeme

Editing demo/example comments

Recommended Posts

This thread is intended for comments regarding the editing demo/process. As the author of the short story being used, I'd like to start by thanking all four editors for their comments and input. I wrote this story several months ago, but didn't consider it particularly strong. With the input they have provided, I'm now motivated to have another go at improving it.

There are a few items that I would normally respond to the editors, in relation to their comments or questions, which I will do here:

a) The phrase "working my butt off" is a moderately common one in Australia. Replacing "butt" with the alternatives would sound stilted.

b) The body of water in question was envisaged as a tidal lake or river, not the ocean. As such, the water can be fairly still, enabling a young boy to be able to wade out confidently, and to be able to see things under the water without difficulty.

c) I deliberately left the sexes of the two adults ambigious. While one is clearly the "breadwinner" and the other the "homemaker", there is nothing to indicate which is male, which is female, or indeed whether or not they are both the same sex.

d) The age of Adam would be in the four to six bracket. As the father of two boys in this age range, I never cease to be amazed at the way their imagination works.

e) The phrase "Once again, he had been thwarted at the last minute." was deliberately used to indicate that there is a history, as suspected. For a short story, I couldn't provide a complete life picture, so little statements like this have bene used to try to illuminate some of the background without giving details.

f) Depression descended on me as I realised no one really liked my phrase "Depression descended". The life of a would-be poetic prose writer....

Thanks again to all the editors. I have found this a very useful, as well as interesting, experience. I have some more comments to make, but I'll wait until I see what other people say first

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post

After looking at all the edited versions of the story, I can see why my buds here call me Mr. Picky. I can't change, though. I was born this way. It's in my genes. :-)

Graeme has told me that I made 275 changes (135 deletions and 140 additions) in that short, two-and-one-half page story. :shock:

I need a rest. LOL

Aaron

Share this post


Link to post
Graeme has told me that I made 275 changes (135 deletions and 140 additions) in that short, two-and-one-half page story.  :shock:

Yours is so red-white-and-blue I thought it was the fucking fourth of July come early :D

-- Stout Scarab

Share this post


Link to post
Thanks again to all the editors. I have found this a very useful, as well as interesting, experience. I have some more comments to make, but I'll wait until I see what other people say first

To hell with you. MAKE THE COMMENTS NOW. I don't wanna' wait, Asshole :) Okay, I'm kidding. :) :)

Actually, what I would like to know is what do you think of the various editing styles. We all work very differently, that's obvious. Is there one way you prefer over the others. Do you find one easier or better?

Also, what do other authors think?

-- Stout Scarab

Share this post


Link to post

Okay, since you asked so nicely....

As I see it, there is a range of topics/issues that an editor can make comment on. As a very incomplete set, these include (in order):

Spelling (eg. fixing typographical errors)

Basic grammar (eg. punctuation, the perennial "missing word" problem)

Sentence construction I (eg. dealing with split infinitives, dangling what-ever-they-are-called)

Sentence construction II (eg. conveying the information clearly and concisely, better choice of words)

Story flow (eg. indicating places where things don't seem to fit, are jarring, or just seem odd)

Story impact (eg. emotional impact, grabbing the readers attention, etc)

The order specified is from micro-level to macro-level, from the words to the story as a whole.

The different editing styles shown equate to placing a different emphasis on the different parts of the craft. Aaron, as an example, is extremely strong in the two "Sentence construction" items listed above. WBMS is strong in the story impact section.

My grammatical skils were quite rusty when I started writing, and I know I still have a lot to learn. I unashamably lean on Aaron's abilities in this area to take the meaning of what I write and improve it with a better choice of words, and/or better sentence construction. In the meantime, I carefully review all his changes, and we discuss any that I either disagree with or would like clarification on, for my own education.

I mentioned recently that I was trying to work out how to continue advancing the quality with which I write. I was interested, therefore, in both WBMS's comments at the story level on where he perceived the weaknesses to be, and Aaron's comment that he thought it wasn't the same quality as more recent writings (the original was written around March 2005). One gave me direction on how I can continue to improve what I'm going and the other encouraged me to think that I've been improving, anyway.

Now, if I was an author that was very much in love with my own choice of words, Aaron's editing would drive me nuts, and I would go with someone like Talonrider who's taken a minimalistic approach and tried to preserve what I've written as much as possible. AJ appears to fall between those two extremes.

My opinion only, of course. I've also had the advantage of having all (bar Aaron's, and I knew what I was likely to get from him) for over a week to review.

Graeme :D

Share this post


Link to post

Ouch, tough room Aussie!

:shock:

Ummm... about that story I've got, never mind AJ.

<Runs and cowers under plumb tree. Ummm plumbs>

Share this post


Link to post

You're no fun at all...

This is fascinating for me, and quite educational. As I said early on, I'd never seen anyone else's editorial process, and this was all I was hoping it would be. Thank you very, very much to all who participated, and big hugs and kisses for Graeme--both for his unquestionable courage in subjecting his story...er, volunteering his story for the demonstration, and his work in preparing the results for posting.

So, where do we go from here? Do we want to continue this process and have another go at a second draft of the story, after Graeme incorporates the changes he likes, or do we let it go at that? I'm up for either option.

One consequence I hadn't considered at the outset, but which is now glaringly obvious, is that this demo gives our author-types on the site a chance to see what kind of work we do, and to make some kind of informed decision about who they'd like to work with--if any of us, as in the case of James.

:shock:

Anyway, once again a sincere 'thank you' to all who participated. I can scratch one more fantasy off my list (yes, I know it's pathetic, but I did have fantasies about this kind of demonstration).

cheers!

aj

Share this post


Link to post

In my style of editting, I've learned the hard way when it comes to spelling errors, point them out, give the correct spelling and let the author change it. Case in point, while doing a BS edit for Dewey, I changed a word, didn't hi-light it and mentioned it. D was unhappy about it because he misspelled the word on purpose, which meant he had to go find it and change it.

When it comes to using the grammar check, I don't always agree with what is pointed out and the suggested change, but I do look at it closely. If I do see a way to change it, I suggest it.

As a learning editor, I enjoyed doing this and see what others do. If Graeme wants to rework the story and send it to us again, I'm up for it.

And I agree with you AJ, this demo would be a good place for authors to check us out. And btw, James, are we looking for a new editor? lol

Share this post


Link to post

Now for my real intent to this thread. As I told Graeme in chat, I would check this comment today. I'm not used to getting too much feed back from some of the authors I've worked with. So using what Graeme listed at the top, I'll give a little more feedback on the story.

B) I didn't automatically assume they were at the ocean, but a smll beach some where.

C) If I had assumed the sexes of the adults as male and female, it was due to an early comment in the beginning stages of this demo. I believe you mentioned it as a straight short story you did.

And I am learning to be a little more forth coming with my comments both as an editor and a reader. Now, when I finish the editting, I try to switch over to reader mode and give my thoughts on the story.

And Graeme is right, I do try to keep the authors work in tact. After all, it his/her work. All I can do is suggest changes.

Share this post


Link to post

I assumed that the setting was the seashore, since I know that hermit crabs are saltwater creatures. I don't know of any that can tolerate fresh water. Do they live in brackish water, as one might find in an estuary? I have no idea, but i'm inclined to think they don't. It's also been my experience that shells are pretty much a saltwater phenomenon.

cheers!

aj

Share this post


Link to post

I would have to agree with you aj. I have seen shells at lake beaches, but nothing like you'd find at the shore.

Share this post


Link to post
I can scratch one more fantasy off my list (yes, I know it's pathetic, but I did have fantasies about this kind of demonstration).

Man, you need help more than I do. That's scary.

== Stout Scarab

Share this post


Link to post
When it comes to using the grammar check, I don't always agree with what is pointed out and the suggested change, but I do look at it closely. If I do see a way to change it, I suggest it.

Let me expand. NEVER use the built in grammar checker. The failure rate of the MS Word grammar checker is near 50% for a writer with a competent command of the English language. For writers with a less than competent command of the English language it actually screws them up worse because they don't even KNOW it's wrong. Just don't use it unless you have a specific question.

As for the built in spell checker, it's not nearly as bad, but do your whole story THEN check it.

It's good practice to do it on your own. I don't use either grammar or spell check on my work. Yeah, that means sometimes an error sneaks by. However it means I make far fewer errors as a rule because I'm always looking for them and checking myself.

-- Stout Scarab

Share this post


Link to post

I do run the spell check on a story after I've done all my work on it...just the other day, it found that i'd overlooked 'chlorine' spelled wrong about four times in one chapter. So yeah, it's good at catching low-level spelling errors and the like.

The grammar function, on the other hand, is a total loss. I ignore what it tells me about pretty much anything.

I find the most useful tool to be the 'find and replace,' under the 'edit' button on Word. I use it for 'then' vs. 'than' and for 'it's' vs. 'its' on every piece that i edit.

cheers!

aj

Share this post


Link to post

On the subject of hermit crabs, I know for a fact that they can be found in the water along the Noosa river in Queensland, as I have sat down with my boys to watch them....

A tidal river or lake has a flow of water as the ocean rises and falls, but doesn't have a lot of water movement outside of this. This stops it from becoming brackish. In one sense, it can be considered to be an extension of the ocean, but surrounded by land to prevent waves (like an extremely well-sheltered bay).

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post
C) If I had assumed the sexes of the adults as male and female, it was due to an early comment in the beginning stages of this demo. I believe you mentioned it as a straight short story you did.

Actually, all I'd said was that it wasn't a "gay" story. Okay, I'll conceded that even when I wrote it I had once adult voice as the mum and one as the dad, but I wanted to avoid indicating the sexes. As a purely cultural exercise, I'm interested in whether it was an assumption that the "breadwinner" was the male and the "homemaker" was the female, or did I use inadvertant clues to lead you to that assumption (such as the reference to shopping).

I want to re-work the story with the feedback I've been given, but I'll have to admit that the muses are currently on vacation. I'll do it when I can....

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post

I stand corrected Graeme. On the use of 'not gay', I assumed they were male and female. And you know what they say about assume.

Share this post


Link to post
C) As a purely cultural exercise' date=' I'm interested in whether it was an assumption that the "breadwinner" was the male and the "homemaker" was the female, or did I use inadvertant clues to lead you to that assumption (such as the reference to shopping).

[/quote']

Graeme, I think for me it was both the shopping and the complaining. Maybe I've been exposed to too many TV sitcoms that depict bitchy housewives. :D

Aaron

Share this post


Link to post
I think for me it was both the shopping and the complaining. Maybe I've been exposed to too many TV sitcoms that depict bitchy housewives. :D

Just because it's a stereotype doesn't mean it's not true ;)

Share this post


Link to post

What a great exercise! If we do this again, I definitely want to take a stab at it.

Reading the edited versions, I became aware of how far I have to go before I can call myself a really good editor. The skills that I have learned—fixing grammar and spelling errors, removing unnecessary sentences and pruning overly verbose ones, improving word usage, etc.—are the easy part. The editors who participated in the exercise did much more, especially when they commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the story.

I did find it a bit difficult to read the color-coded edits, especially the dark blue on a black background. I would probably use just use bold for added text and strike-though for deletions.

So, about 11 years later, I'd like to thank the editors and especially Graeme for putting this together.

Share this post


Link to post

It was indeed interesting, except I couldn't find the edited piece in question, which would have helped.

Mostly what I got from it was the sad feeling of people that were vibrant and intelligent and interesting who are no longer here, and certainly missed. I guess that's how things work on these sites, but the coming and going changes the culture, old friends are suddenly missing, and reading something like this, which was before my time here but the people themselves were still here when I began, gives me a strong feeling of nostalgia.

I wasn't editing back then. I was learning how to write effectively. Now I edit quite a bit and really enjoy it. And I ask the question of my victims that was asked here: how do you want the edit to be done. This is the way I usually do it. The red is me.

The boys had always heard that the county had been named for the Huron tribe and this new bit of information was (confusion)x confusing and a bit annoying. They didn’t want their county named after an ugly (hair style)x hairstyle. There was much consideration and debate. The compromise decision was that the French had, indeed, named the Huron Indians because of their (hair styles)x hairstyles, but the county was named after the tribe, not their hair. It just felt better to the boys that they were living in a land named after a noble people rather than an ugly (hair do)x hairdo. (Start a new paragraph here.)

The (Native American) (That term wasn’t used in 1944, which is the time of this story; I’d suggest either: Indian, or tribal) names of the area were Skenchioetontius and Kandechiondius(.) (p)Probably one of the names was Wyandotte and the other Huron, the boys decided.

I also edit by actually writing in the changes I advocate and letting the author then use his compare documents function to see the suggestions. This makes it easier for him to scan the flow of the piece without all the red interruptions. Some people prefer this method, other want to see the suggested changes up front.

Share this post


Link to post

It was indeed interesting, except I couldn't find the edited piece in question, which would have helped.

You can find the original and the edited version here. However, after several board software version upgrades, the editing has been messed up (again). When I find the time, I'll fix it up so it looks it originally did. Currently, the colours aren't always correctly showing what was edited and what wasn't.

Share this post


Link to post

I think there may be a little confusion here between editing and beta reading. It is my understanding that an editor deals with technical correctness; i.e. grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph constructions, and the like. On the other hand, a beta reader reads your finished work and offers constructive suggestions about the storytelling, such as commenting on characterization, flow, accuracy of content (such as historical detail), and discusses with you, usually through an exchange of notes, how well the story has met his expectations.

I am in no wise competent to undertake editing of a manuscript, but I spent many years as a beta reader for one of our more prolific contributors. Perhaps my most use to him was to be able to offer my point of view as an American familiar with my own culture when his stories veered away from his own British and continental settings onto North America.

I have often thought that the most useful beta reader for many of us would be a discriminating reader who was about 14 years old.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't believe there's any formal definition of what is an editing and what is beta-reading. From my point of view, the 'editing' processing spans everything from technical correctness (punctuation and spelling at one end) through to sentence construction and right up to addressing plot issues. It's all editing in my opinion.

It is rare to find someone who is skilled at doing the full gamut, so having a technical editor for one end of the editing processing and a beta-reader for the other end is, I believe, common.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't believe there's any formal definition of what is an editing and what is beta-reading. From my point of view, the 'editing' processing spans everything from technical correctness (punctuation and spelling at one end) through to sentence construction and right up to addressing plot issues. It's all editing in my opinion.

I agree with that, and try to do that when I edit. I have tried just doing either of those, and was very unhappy. I'd fix a misspelling, but seeing a moment of discontinuity that was in perfect English and leaving it alone wasn't something I was good at. The people who edit for me are also full service editors, if you will. They all do more than fix typos.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...