Editing 12/30/20

Light rain today, then a little bit of snow. It’s beautiful and overcast. Going up a hill at 6:30 this morning, I saw the brake lights of parked cars reflected in long stilts of rainwater streaming downhill.

I’ve been editing a book all day yesterday and today, still on this crazy schedule. I was getting worried about halfway through the novel, which was moving along at a decent pace. The book was good. That’s a nightmare for an editor, when you are just enjoying yourself. You’re getting paid to find out what’s wrong! What if there IS nothing wrong…scary stuff.

Thankfully the book completely fell apart right at that halfway point. Just completely. It felt like a different writer, at that point.

And that made me think of the importance of getting an editor to go in and smooth things out for you. I am constructing a document as I move through the edit, and at the end of the day I’ll have character development suggestions, possible plot structures, and what to look out for to avoid bad prose. It will be helpful, and the writer (who clearly has talent) will use it to plunge back in.

Team sports. Art is a squad thing, now. Writing will probably be the last one to go, but the early adopters can take a page from comedians:

At a certain point, Schulz talks about how there’s a whole team behind his comedy show. Which makes sense, and has been “a thing” since comedy shows existed. It’s bizarre to me, however, that more writers don’t take this approach. To most, it’s a solitary activity. You get feedback from beta readers, maybe. But the process of writing a novel is not collaborative, doesn’t involve a team. Why not?

Something to think about.


  1. Uncle Rickets says:

    Hey, JDO. This your ol ‘Subversive’ Uncle Rickets; we had a correspondence regarding mid west fishing, The Platonic Academy, and the behavioral modification that is social media – you know, the usual. I’m guilty of being the cynical hermit-author who just scribbles ramblings in the papyrus in his hut and wonders why things aren’t magically coming together. Think it comes from being burned in the past with more group oriented projects and actually having ideas/content plagiarized from me, e.g., being in bands with dysfunctional folks or having lyrics ripped – the good stuff. Thankfully, I have a supportive partner who I can share things with, but I need a pro to cattle prod me in the right direction.

    So, how does a writer/artist overcome their cynicism and reach a confidence to even consider contacting an editor?

    Sidenote: to overcome scatter-brained automatism of pansterdom, I’m challenging myself to finish a song a week, and a short story every two… Need to break the addiction to ideas and become a fiend for finishing things.

    Hope all is well, and I’m electing Kris as my estranged dad, and you’re my elder brother who steals the credit for my genius – how could you!?


    1. brbjdo says:

      Hey Rickets!

      In my experience, there’s no real way to overcome thoughts that you may or may not have. Kris and I both use the skydiving metaphor a lot. I remember the first time I went, I was dangled out the side of the plane, strapped to a pro like a little baby, my legs in the wind, looking down. They ask “are you ready?” and of course the answer is “no” but you say “yes” anyway.

      This has been a key finding of mine in terms of CBT and dealing with some of the mental issues I’ve had over the past decade or so. It’s impossible to convince yourself that you’re good at something, or to think anything really, but “mood follows action.” So you just start “acting” like you’re a writer, and you’ll be contacting editors in no time.

      Hope this helps,


      1. Uncle Rickets says:

        I like that, “it’s impossible to convince yourself you’re good at something”. That’s a nice aphorism, and you’re right. I’ll buck up and act appropriately and ‘do’ rather than think about ‘doing’.
        And, how is cock and ball torture supposed to help?


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