Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Reading as an Editor

I admit it--I don't read for pleasure as much as I used to. Mostly because during the school year, I spend so many hours a day reading to my kids, writing, and editing that by the end of the day, my eyes and brain say, "Nope, we're done. Stare at the television or go to sleep. Those are your choices."

But there's another reason. It's because I've trained myself so much to be an editor that I can't read a book without noting what I'd ask the author to change...and that get really, really annoying when I'm just reading for fun, LOL.

Now, the mark of a truly excellent book is when the editor switches off, or at least finds nothing to whine about. That happens, and I love it when it does. But other times...yeah. I recently read a dystopian where the character at one point mentions that in her town, there's no music. She barely has a concept of what it is. Then a few scenes later, she likens someone's breathing to a concertina. Um, no. If you don't know what music is, you aren't going to think in terms of instruments. Sorry. A first person book that suddenly goes out of POV and tells me what another character is thinking? Shudder. And that historical full of inaccuracies? Ouch.

I guess it's kinda like a doctor watching a medical show. Or someone in law enforcement watching CSI. They're going to notice the faults, the things the show gets wrong, and it's going to ruin it for them. Sadly, that's how some books are for me these days. It's one thing to notice all the typos, which I've always done. But these days, it's so much more than that.

But then it makes me wonder.

How can God stand to watch us?? LOL. I mean, He's got it all right. He knows what He's doing. He knows the right thing, the wrong thing, the so-so things we could do in each moment, and He sees how often we go the wrong way. How often we miss the mark.

And I can imagine Him in heaven, with his metaphorical red pen, saying, "You know, if you'd just let me give you some advice right here..."

But here's another thing I've learned about editors--you have to let them give you advice. Freelancers you hire, and you can totally choose whether to take their advice or ignore them. When you've signed a contract with a publishing house, you kinda have to listen to what they say. Kinda. But you might be surprised at how many authors refuse, and take the cancellation of their contract over giving over control of their story.

What about in our lives? Do we give over control to Him? He, who is the ultimate author? The ultimate editor? Who understands far better than we do where the plots of our lives are going? Who knows what's relevant and what isn't? Where our focus should be?

Lord, be my editor. Catch all my errors and help me correct them. Cut out all that fluff I don't need in my life. Keep my words tight and true to You. Lord, be my editor...and help me to take Your perfect advice.

13 comments:

  1. I have a hard time pleasure reading these days too. Glad it's not just me. I have to say I've been pretty bored lately by anything in the romance department unless it has had a decided spark of something extra. This year I did enjoy Born of Persuasion and A Heart Revealed, which both step way outside the box of category romance. I've mostly been reading YA dystopian this year, which seems to engage my imagination enough to turn off that editor...most of the time.

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    1. I've been reading the same thing lately! And yeah, I think for the same reasons--I have to read pretty far outside my editing-circle to be able to shut off that internal voice, LOL. Upon your advice, I've been reading The Selection series. Very fun. I've finished the first two books (from library) and am going to check out the third today or tomorrow.

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  2. This is beautiful, Roseanna. I love this - "Lord, be my editor...and help me to take Your perfect advice." What a great reminder. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! I'd had this post in "draft" for a few weeks and just opened it up again this morning and made the relating-it-to-faith connection, LOL.

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  3. I love your correlation, Roseanna. It really is true. I'm in the same situation. No time to read for pleasure. I started listening to books on audio while I work, so I finally know what all the fuss over the Hunger Games was about.

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    1. Love the Hunger Games!!!

      I've decided I'm not at an audiobook place in life right now. I tried one last month and got a little frustrated at having to hit pause every time someone ran in the room screaming, "Mommy, Mommy, LOOK!" LOL. Perhaps in a few more years I'll give them another go...

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    2. I really loved it, too! I never could listen to audio, either, but I gave it another try. If the narrator is good, I've been able to enjoy it while I work. The narrator for Hunger Games was really good. Then I listened to Colleen Coble's Hope Beach series. That narrator was really good, too. Now I'm listening to The Selection. There have been some poorly done audio books I couldn't enjoy.

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  4. That is a good comparison. I find I can still turn off my inner editor unless there's something really glaring, but I used to enjoy books more before I started writing them. Thanks for the thoughts about writing, reading, and God. :-)

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    1. I think that's true of many of us writers. And why many us tend to read outside the genre we're writing in sometimes!

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  5. LOVE this. Just having learned more about the writing process and trying to get into the writing world, I've become more critical, too.

    Question for you. Where do you find historical meanings of words? So...if I want to know what the world thought of the word xyz in 1880, what resource would I use?

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    1. You want www.etymonline.com =) Also check out this site: https://www.prismnet.com/~dierdorf/nono.html

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