Sunday, June 17, 2012

Today I wish I was perfect, and probably tomorrow, too

It is hard to believe, but I am close to publishing my second book at Smashwords.  This work is an anthology of shorts stories, Gardens in the Cracks & Other Stories. They are loosely connected by the "world" they are all derived from in that similar technology and history are imbedded in each.  The title piece ("Gardens in the Cracks") and another short work (Scrapper, a novella) have some characters in common as well as time and general locale.  The remaining stories developed out of experiments of one sort or another: repeating motif, what if, narrative from a secondary character, and such.  I think all writers will agree, the editing is the hardest part.  I have gone over them so many times looking for every error I can.

Besides the fact that I write recursively and therefore edit constantly as I write, I am now on my fourth line edit of this work.  I can say that turning on the feature that checks grammar and mechanics in a word processing program can be the most annoying and beneficial experience.  I found myself examining nearly every sentence and defending or correcting innumerable aspects of my writing.  Frequently, the program would highlight a word or two and state "if you are using this to mean...., then you are correct.  But if you mean...., then...."  I can't say how many times I said, "Can't you tell?"  Every once and a while I was glad it did not let a single questionable word by, as I had in fact used a word incorrectly.

Dialogue can play a large part of a fiction work, and in an effort to sound like the genuine article, my characters often speak in phrases or are not necessarily grammatically correct.  So I was reminded on a regular basis that I had fragments of sentences or slang where I intended them to be.  This still was a benefit as I noticed that some of my characters did this more often than others, and I had the opportunity to decide if this was a characteristic I wanted for the individual or if it was too heavily used.

The fine tooth comb that I am using now gives me a headache, but not using it would be worse than a headache.  So off I go again scraping each sentence free of error.  This is one of those times when I really wish I was perfect.

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