Thursday, December 6, 2012

175/365: The Author & the Editor

Today I made:
my point about spell check...

I helped my young friend finish her novel tonight. She crafted quite the story over the last month and it was time to revise and edit- 15 pages worth, complete with clever dialogue, suspenseful scenes and plot twists. This was so NOT a one day task, but because of our schedules, we had to pull a late night work session. The spelling and grammar check on the computer got a workout for a good hour. Then we reread and reread some more, going through with a fine-tooth comb, proving that our brains are smarter than the spell check. There is a part of me that enjoys this meticulous, detail-oriented task, but after five hours my eyes were crossing. (Apparently, the period key had been missing from her keyboard during much of the writing of the draft.) It was funny to see how many different versions of the story came through with missing or misplaced punctuation. We had a good laugh, and hopefully she learned something.

Written language conventions are still taught in high school, right? I can't remember at what point during my school career I bought into the idea that revision and editing are a crucial part of the writing process, but I teach it to the youngest of writers. If we want to gift the world with our creative stories and brilliant ideas (or function in the workplace) we need to make sure our writing is readable. It is part of the craft of writing. I wonder how many professional writers write a novel with no periods and hand it over for their editor to decipher. ;)

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