You keep out of it

Today was going to be a lazy day. Run a few errands. Maybe catch up with a friend for lunch in the city. Maybe even head down to the Gold Coast and sit on the beach for a few hours.

And then I remembered: I’ve got a book manuscript to edit.

(If you’re reading this, Donna, I still want to do the work, honest. It just slipped my mind, that’s all.)

As it turns out I could have sat on the beach for a while because I didn’t do any editing today. Instead I read the first chapter of Donna’s manuscript a few times to get her writing voice firmly in my head so I don’t end up destroying it.

In an earlier post I talked about how I seem to have found my writing voice (although every time I say that I’m waiting for someone to ask, “Don’t you mean ‘style’?”), and that the more I write the stronger it’s becoming.

That’s great for when I’m writing my own stuff. But when I’m editing someone else’s, it can make things really difficult.

I haven’t worried about it too much at the regular job, because there’s never really been a voice for me to destroy. People really aren’t interested in that kind of thing. They just want it edited and out the door so they can get on with their real work.

But I’m starting to get other editing work from people who do have a voice, and I have to work really hard not to destroy it.

Fortunately for me Donna’s writing voice is nice and relaxed like mine, and so I won’t feel the need to rewrite great chunks of it. It’ll be more like tweaking the text rather than changing it.

But if I want to do more of this kind of thing (and while I’m still keen to write features it is an option), then I’ll have to work out a way to keep myself out of other people’s work.

And that’s not going to be easy.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Gayle Howard March 9, 2010, 9:06 am

    This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by H.G. Wells. “There is no passion greater than the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”

    Another fun post Bill!


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