This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bad Writing, Rough Editing

I should really be in bed right now, or contemplating the next scene in my novel, or doing something else useful, but I had an utterly blah time at work this evening.

One student's essay needed editing in every single sentence. Disagreeing subjects and verbs. Possessives that should have been plurals (and not possessive at all). A disastrous disinterest in knowing when to use "their" versus "there" or "they're." Sentence fragments like a grenade had gone off mid-essay. And in 12th grade! A senior in high school! Frankly, I was disgusted. 52 minutes later I had the whole mess appropriately formatted (they aligned left with a four inch column of text) and it looked like I vomited a rainbow across it (different colors of highlighting for minor grammar issues, tense issues, style issues, etc.).

But the student was excited by my willingness to help, and I do my best by everyone I edit for. I once edited an in-law's would-be novel... Got to page 72 before I wanted to gouge out my eyes and his. Rookie mistakes. The characters hadn't been fully realized and kept doing utterly irrational things. He had a decent idea, too little research and too little understanding of his own creations. I whipped up two worksheets for him and spent a couple hours going through specifics with him. I tried to be encouraging (not easy in this case) but forthright won out a few times.

He took the worksheets home and did them. Complemented me on the worksheets and told me how much new insight he gained into his characters as a result. Really, rave reviews for my help. But where is his manuscript now? Sitting on a shelf collecting dust. I've heard that most writers never complete their first novel, or they never get it published. I understand those statistics, but hope to battle them by helping others (as I, too, write and rewrite). I still wonder if I was overzealous with his novel...

Anyhow...
~Saoirse
PS--Yes, I know this entry is not grammatically sound. Bwah-ha-ha!

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