I have just completed a tremendously long edit on some work I thought I had finished a long time ago. I was so utterly wrong.
But exceptionally fortunate too. You see, the guy who made and maintains my website (Lexidays), introduced me to his wife. Her name is Alison, and she is an avid reader, and she’s extremely clever; makes me look like a six-year-old – which, when you consider I’m only five, is perhaps a compliment.
We writers are a peculiar type; in that we expect people to buy and read our work, and jolly well enjoy it! We have slaved over each word, each paragraph and each chapter until, a year or so later, we have created something wonderful. Or not, as the case may be. However, we have put into some kind of order one-hundred-thousand words, and we’ve weaved plots and sub-plots, and nuances of character behaviour and development until this collection of words is a living, breathing story that will take our readers away from the ironing, or the grocery store, away from the commute, and into an unreal world where things happen that will make them laugh or cry or wonder, or gasp. Or groan.
Aren’t we clever.
Well, you might be! But my Ali has found out the truth of it all.
She has read my edited work, and found more holes in it than there are in a standard sieve. Nay, two standard sieves! Okay, I admit that’s a little exaggerated, but nevertheless, she has found things that I wouldn’t have spotted even if I’d read the blessed thing another thousand times.
I had used the same registration number for two different vehicles (obviously, something subliminal going on there) in two different manuscripts! Place names were wrong, people names were wrong… My own shame prevents me mentioning any more bloomers, but there are masses, rest assured.
Am I depressed by all this criticism, by all these ‘comments’ in my work?
No, actually I’m not; I am extremely grateful. As I said, I would have never found the anomalies… but you would have; and so it would have pulled you back to the ironing, or to the prospect of the grocery store, or to the commute, and that’s the enemy of fiction.
How lucky am I that at last I have found someone who is razor sharp at spotting errors and anomalies, and has a certain ‘charm’ in pointing them out to me.
Now when I write, be it first draft or final edit, I write with Ali in mind. If I can imagine her shaking her head and taking in a large suck of breath, I immediately reach for the delete key.
Thank you Ali.