The Madness of Poets. (No offence)

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...
Now… which sentence works best right here? This one. Yes. No. That one. On the other hand… Did I just see a white rabbit with a watch? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Funny thing happened on the way to the forum

That line used to mean something and anyone who read it would know what it meant and what it alluded to. Now some folk – no-one reading this, of course – could be forgiven for looking at this blog site and wondering where the forum tab is. I digress…

Can I say editing is fun? Well, yes. I just did. I think I’m saying that as some sort of mental defence mechanism, because it must be fun, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much of it to do, right? It is amazing to see what improvements can be made, and that is uplifting, if you ignore the sneaking awareness that there are tens of thousands of words still to be investigated and upgraded where possible.

And there is macro vs. micro editing. I am currently trying to zap through and look at things from a macro perspective – storyline, pacing, continuity, while fixing typos and other egregious errors that just cannot let me pass by. I have realised that there are some areas that need to be expanded, one new section that needs to be written, and then itself edited and made to fit with the whole. Whether or not there is a balancing chunk to be chopped out is open to question, though I rather hope that anything added will be made up for by the chopping out of my 5 words when 2 will do tendency. Those 21 steps of editing again.

My skill at editing has improved through practice, but the price is discovering what I missed earlier in the process. So a moment of revelation and pleasure is born as I see new ways to improve my output, followed by attrition on my molars as I realise how many chapters now need to be re-re-examined in the light of my new-found knowledge. The sense of being trapped on a hamster wheel of your own creation is very jarring. And there is still so very far to go to get to the end of this pass, before going back to do the re-re-examination.

Which brings me to my own amusement – the random stopping and getting bogged down in micro editing – obsessing over one sentence and how many things are wrong with it. I think this really has made many writers insane over the centuries. Especially when there is not necessarily one right answer. That is the abyss that can be stared into. Different answers stare back, and a few of them are pointing and laughing. Occupational hazard for poets of all eras I would think. And they do have something of a reputation. Did autocorrect just change eras to ears? Hmm. Maybe it was just me. Anyway – the one sentence thing. Oh dear. I have found I really can get stopped in my tracks by that, something I honestly never thought would happen to me, given my gay disregard for the formalities of English over the years. (And yes – why I am possessed of that attitude and simultaneously want to write is a mystery I have yet to unravel, mostly through lack of inspection of said mystery. I just do.) So I am trying to avoid such moments, even as it is amusing me to be caught by them (on account of the historical rarity of this phenomenon in myself – I am assuming (hoping) this is some sort of literary ‘growth’ that is occurring), and heartening to see how much can be made better, and with quite simple changes. Of course I am the arbiter of better at present and so could be continuing to delude myself massively. The madness of poets beckons…

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