Editing Yourself

I'm a terrible self-editor. No matter how often I've worked on a project, when it comes time to bite the bullet and read the work for accuracy, I'm hopeless. Falling into the story wipes out all attempts to be brutal with my grammar, word choices, and sentence fragments. I'm terribly fond of the whole thing by that stage. Probably, there's a part of me that worries that fooling around with the last draft will shift the stars and disrupt the magic that made it in the first place. Hence, my self-editing is really just another chance to fall into the story again.

Recently, I picked up EDIT YOURSELF by Bruce Ross-Larson, which is charmingly dedicated to "Goddard Winterbottom." Anyone with a friend of that delightful name must know what he's doing, I decided. And Ross-Larson does. He lists "overweight prepositions," ( the bailiwick of most lawyers, without a doubt), weak modifiers, and wonderful tips like "you should examine a noun ending in 'ion' to see whether it can be replaced by a concrete word." (p.9) For example, instead of "motivation," try to use the word "drive." For "origination," use "source." Ross-Larson seems dedicated to clearing up muddy writing and making sure subjects and verbs agree. I particularly like his advice to avoid the "ugly" words like "electricitywise and prioritize." I smell Christmas gifts in the offing....

Last week and this have been swallowed up in the flurry of shopping and packing it seems to take to get two girls back to their respective schools. One starts a week before the other, so at least the sweaty, time-sucking work is spread out. Wait, is that a good thing? Oh well - it's August. What more is there to say?