Thursday, 3 March 2011

Editorial Differences

Where does this belong?

So, large amounts of my time have been taken up with editing. And what a laborious and eye-opening thing it's proving to be. Ever since I announced I was considering serialising the book wot I writted about comic books, I've been knee deep in words. It has been 6 years since I even opened the file up and a lot has changed in those six years; for instance, I was still almost involved in comics when I wrote all those words, now I'm very much out of touch and the entire tone of the book has had to change from knowledgeable to nostalgic - that's a lot of changing 'it is' to 'it was' and making sure the tenses are correct (apparently, one of my blind spots has always been tenses).

The derogatorily titled Living with Idiots is a sprawling great lump of a work. When I opened the document up it sat at 170,866 words. It's now down to a little over 167,000 and I expect that will drop considerably more, especially when I reach the parts that are going to be litigious. However, despite the net drop of 3,000 words, I've actually written about 5,000 extra words. I've been tightening things up; explaining things and making it make more sense. Considering it was originally meant to be a manual of education for people who don't understand comic books but fancy a good Swimming with Sharks styled story; I left an awful lot unexplained and hazy; so returning to it after this long has allowed me to be more... clear. I just hope that I'm not editing the life out of it.

I'm also approaching this editing in the wrong way. I should sit down and read the entire tome and make notes and ignore any mistakes; but I'm doing what my old boss used to do and I'm editing as I go along. This means that at times I talk about things that I discuss later on in the book. I'm finding that in most cases this is actually proving to be a better way of attacking it. I've noticed a propensity for trying to be clever for the sake of it and I'm pretty sure that anyone reading it will get pissed off pretty quickly at my Sonic the hedgehog style of writing certain sections. For instance, smack bang in the middle of a chapter about retailing, I veer off into a long winded discussion about fanzines. I think the logic at the time was to break up the potential boredom people might suffer about reading about what an atrocious retail model comics has had since the arrival of the Direct Market. What it read like though was as if I'd just copied and pasted a huge chunk from somewhere else in the story, just for the heck of it.

The thing is, considering the experience and knowledge I have of the old fanzine scene, the aside reads like a drunken wibble and therefore it just got obliterated. The delete key was hit pretty fast and I decided that at some point I'd rewrite a section on fanzines that fits in better with the general flow of the book. I also feel that the 40,000 words I've edited so far are far more interesting than they were originally. I know that's easy for me to say, but it is like editing something by someone else at times, because I can't actually remember a lot of what I wrote or how I approached some subjects. I also find it quite ironic that in my attempts to write something fit for a book, I managed to be both verbose and boring - as if I could be either of those things..?

I've now arrived at two words which those who know me will be all too familiar with and therefore I now have to put my legal hat on as well as my editorial one. At least I can print what I've edited so far without fear of any reprisals; so expect the first part of this tome to appear in the next blog entry.

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