Friday, August 6, 2010

Editing Anonymous

The editing process for Cinco de Mayo was not at all what I expected. Two editors, and I never met either one. I don't even have full names. Safety standards, I guess, to protect them from the kind of writer that flips out and drives 2,300 miles to Red Deer to scream "I wrote 'froward' because that's the word I wanted!" They needn't have worried in my case. I have never done such a thing. 2,300 miles is far.

The anonymity benefited the process of creating a novel in ways that didn't occur to me until after. The book became the thing. The power of personalities became much less consequential than they can be in other, more personal exchanges. We had no bullying. No forcing. No contests of will that many boys lean towards in times of crisis. Nor was there suasion by means other than the written word. No one conceded any point because the other was pretty, nice or offering pistachio muffins.

Not that there was much to argue about. My book was near perfect when in entered the mill. . . And much more perfect when it came out. The procedure was, in the end, like any good surgery. Mostly painless, resulting in a healthier patient. The only real discrepancies arose from those odd places in the English language at which Canadians and Americans diverge. Colour and a few capitalizations. That was about it. Oh, and Chapter 73. That's gone. Which makes me froward. But not nearly enough to drive to Red Deer.

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