Writing, writing, rewriting, then rewriting again

Sounds like this is something created by the Department of Redundancy Department. But, redundancy, in the sense of visiting and revisiting something is appropriate to writing well.

A few days ago I had a long conversation with a reader of my book. She was very enthusiastic about the story and the characters and my writing style in general. She warned me before we me that she had fond a few typos, which came as no surprise to me. By the time we met to talk, I had already found the ones she had mentioned and corrected them. There weren’t many and were the product of a word processing program that thought it was smarter than me. If I could turn off the software’s propensity to suggest the “correct” word for me as I type then substitute it for what I am typing, I would. (Another project…)

But not all errors of usage and typos result from a too-smart computer. Most are self-induced, at least most of mine are. Funny thing about errors creeping into one’s writing, even though we know better, they still have a way of infiltrating the text. For example, one may, while writing a passage, think the word “an” but the fingers on the keyboard are into automatic mode and tap out the word “and” instead. Often, the mind being far ahead of the fingers, this goes undetected at the time. Later, reading one’s own words the mind knows that the word that got into the text as “and” should really be “an”, and perceives it that way.

There is no substitute for having a good editor to subject your work to careful reading and analysis. Unfortunately, for many writers,  myself among them, a professional editor is either a stroke of good fortune or an expense that becomes a burden or is just not feasible. I did find a good editor initially, for the first draft of my book, and she was very helpful and offered many improvements and, more importantly to me, solid encouragement to continue. I have not been able to afford her services for the subsequent revisions and rewrites, but her impact was significant and appreciated.

Good writing depends on critical rewriting and this is almost impossible when one is one’s own editor and critic. I have depended on the critical advice of many of my acquaintances who are readers, and some who have somewhat of an editorial background, to point out areas of improvement and error.

I believe I have now, as of today, gotten the vast majority of small glitches out of the book – typos and punctuation errors – and it is now in its final form. The flow has been tightened up a bit by trimming some of the unnecessary text, but nothing critical and I think it reads better than before.

Lastly, one of the most unexpected things for me was the immense amount of work that goes into the writing, rewriting, formatting, cover design and creation then production, marketing and distribution of a novel.

For my next one, I hope to be merely the author and give the editorial and production jobs to others more qualified.


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