Editing Someone Else’s Words

My life is boring, I admit. I do pretty much the same things day after day. For me to blog “I wrote a chapter” and then, two days later, blog the same title again, would be very boring indeed.

But lately, I’ve set aside my writing to edit my writers’ group annual book. This year, instead of ‘The Best of’, we decided to write a cohesive novella. We’ve done this before, each of us taking a different character, or writing short connected stories about a main theme. But this one’s different; we decided to go Round Robin style. I started off, followed by someone else, and so on, until it was my turn to write again.

Makes for a rough story.

My job, as editor, is not only to do the usual corrections of spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but also to smooth the different chapters so they flow from one to the next without throwing the reader out of the boat.

The difficulty lies in preserving the original writer’s voice while making it work correctly.

So many people, when critiquing others’ work, try to rewrite the piece. That’s not the point. We need to preserve the writers’ style while showing him/her how to make it stronger.

Sometimes it means leaving little oopses, rather than change a whole section. Some writers use commas way too much, so I remove most that aren’t needed, but leave a few that aren’t wrong, yet aren’t entirely correct, either. I leave a few of the more harmless run-on sentences in a chapter written by a writer who’s known for them. After all, it’s not supposed to be just my writing. And if I over edit, that’s exactly what it will be, MY writing.

Our strength as a group, as a community, is having different voices, different ways of expressing ourselves. 

Books Coming Out

BookCoverPreview2I have three #books coming out in rapid order:

Fear, Swallowed: My third book of #poetry. Should be out in just a couple weeks.

Breathe is also putting out their annual #anthology. This is our sixth book together as a writing community. It’s smaller this year, but really good. In years past, we’ve had overlapping story lines, followed themes, whatever, but this one is a ‘best of the year’ book. Should be out within a month.Boo and Oscer 1

Boo and Oscar and the Fantastic Fudge Fiasco: This is the kickoff book for the sleuthing duo, Boo (cat) and Oscar (spider), picture book series, staring Diana Mcaskill’s art. I’m really excited (and awed) about this book. It will hopefully be out by Christmas. You can preorder this book: Boo and Oscar #booandoscar

Asphalt Freedom

This is a favorite poem, often requested, from the Breathe I book.  Breathe, for those of you who don’t know, is a writers’ critique group based in Caribou, Maine.  We put out an anthology every year.  Breathe I was published in 2009.

Asphalt Freedom
She was a pink Schwinn
tall and shapely like
that steed I’d named her after:
Long white banana seat
deep swoop to her frame
proud sissy bar
elegant flowered basket
I rode her
jockey on a desperate steed
with a blue jump rope
for reins
We’d charge from
far back in the alley
rubber hooves spinning
popping sharp gravel
Gallop down that awesome hill
to shoot wildly across the street
praying there were no cars
home to the awaiting spanking