Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review: Editing and Revising Text - Spooky Computer

Funny, I typed this review this morning and got a knock on my door so I did a save and continue. Answered the door, gave a tour to the landlord to the leaky tap, roof and sewer gas smell, locked the door came back to the computer and it was gone? I look at my dog, "Daisy did you delete my article?"

I couldn't accuse her of eating it (paper only). I have no idea what happened to it. It's off in cyber space. Please let me know if you find it. I shut off my computer totally frustrated (really it took me 30 minutes to write all that and couldn't remember a thing when I wanted to redo it) hopped into the car and went to Walmart.

I decided to order a Mcdonalds chicken value meal minus the mayo( ways to save a buck, ask for the southwestern sauce (reg price $8 meal for $4)), then I wandered around. Found a nice .97 cent picture frame 8.5×11.5 for my Business License, toilet paper's 4 bucks for 28 rolls (the last two) and lots of junk food ($2 doritos, 1.17 pop, 1.00 popcorn.)

I watch American Idol Tuesday and Wednesday nights and those are my junk food nights. Tonight we'll be watching WWE. Well I kind of watch it, I sit there beside my spouse and pretend to like it, meanwhile, I'm reading my books, playing on the internet on my phone (surfs away) and still spending quality time with my dog licking my hands (oh I love massages) and my boyfriend massaging my feet(prerequisite for me watching WWE with him).

One big happy family!

I've been editing my own manuscript and finally I was done! Now I pull out a few books (ahem- the other ones were published in 2002, how was I to know that in 2007, and 2009 everything had changed!) and began to read. My heart began to sink lower and my frustration levels peaked. I had just spent two days, fixing capital letters on my Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin you get the picture.

The new book says you DON"T capitalize them ALL the time? But in my editing book from 2000/2002, you do yell, I'm leaving it! That's it, I've had enough (oblivious to scaring my poor boyfriend and daisy). Daisy starts to bark at me, the boyfriend is yelling "quiet you two I can't hear the TV!" I'm almost in tears, really I was feeling kind of emotional this week and this was the last straw.

I took a deep breath and found the "Editing and Revising Text" in my reading pile and grabbed it. The more I read, the more I realized that my manuscript was not really finished at all.It's a book about essays, journals, article and manuscripts. It's about changing your text so it's more understandable to the reader. That hit home. I had been writing my manuscript knowing the beginning, middle and end. I had received an email that pointed out that a new reader would be LOST in my first chapter. I said, "read the rest of the book, it will clarify itself."

Now after reading the editing book, I feel like a total well you know. needless to say I wrote an apology email and told her I had revised it, and practically rewrote the whole section.(her editing basically scratched out every other word, so I really had no choice).

I guess what I am trying to say is, it's great that you are out there doing research and reading books and trying to better yourself but please be warned, if you intend to be a serious writer, you have to keep up with the times. I read the older books and the newer ones.

Each one shares a bit of insight, but when it comes to finalizing a manuscript, query letter, synopsis, outline and whatever needs to be done, you have to get the latest information and tools required to do the job right. The same goes for those lovely old dictionaries. I was all proud of myself, I went to the Book Depot and saved $12 buying a used/damaged one at the back for $2 (copyright 2004) as opposed to paying $14 for the latest edition.

I read a bit of "Grammar Girl's" book (I shall add that review as well) and found out that the Oxford Dictionary has removed some 19,000(don't quote me on that figure it could be out a few here and there) hyphenated words in 2009! Imagine that, every single word that you learned in grade school (baby boomers hello!) is no longer hyphenated.

I'm finding it harder and harder each day to be a professional writer without going bald from pulling out all my hair, to trying to pinch pennies to buy these new books(why does it have to cost 60 dollars for one book?) I'm currently turning to my local library.

The latest editions are in the reference section. Oh yeah, I get to fight with the rest of the writers in the Niagara Region over one book. Also I am not about to write down every single name, address etc. Good News! Some of the books are being awesome by providing the update news in one section. This way you can actually buy the older book or take it out of the library and just review the companies that your planning to send stuff to and check if the address is the same. Also it's a good idea to call them and verify if the address is correct in the phone book.

In this day and age with so much downsizing and restructuring, I wouldn't be surprised if offices were moving to more affordable digs.I'm recommending this book to students, writers and publishers.

It has many words of wisdom in it and also you might want to take a look at some of the other "writers" books that I've mentioned in the past few days. Last of all, Remember we must take Joy in our editing and when we finally get a big pay check, we can then afford to hire someone to do it for us. *bright thought of the day*

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