Sunday, January 05, 2020

My Brain Is Full

     I spent most of yesterday and today critiquing about a hundred and fifty pages of someone else's fiction and boy, is my brain tired!

     It's much easier to write "unclear -- fix this" or "Did the Mongols really use carrier pigeons?" in the margins of a manuscript you didn't write and won't have to rewrite or research, that's for sure, and supposedly it's good practice for digging into one's own work.

     Meanwhile, I'm messing with Scrivener more.  It's got some interesting cross-platform capabilities that I am hoping to use.


RandyGC said...

I feel ya.

Seems I spent a good portion my various careers proofing, correcting or re-writing other peoples work. I often felt that I spent more time doing that than doing my own work, even when that function wasn't actually part of my job description.

One LT of an East Coast PD even tried to recruit me based primarily on the observing me helping security officers "edit" (re-write into understandable English) incident reports.

Ed Skinner said...

Proofing, critiquing, marking someone else's work is ego boosting. Think: I write much better than this. I'd never do that. Boy, what a noob.

Scrivener, yeah. It's big but use a little for a while then RTFM again. It's my main beast for big stuff.

rickn8or said...

Ed, it's easy and ego boosting. How often does that happen??

Roberta X said...

It's not that easy -- this isn't (entirely) copy-editing, it's critiquing with an eye to helping the story: what works, what doesn't, what's extraneous, how well dialog flows and the extent to which the characters speak and act in a consistent manner, along with keeping an eye on and pointing out successes and failure of plot, pacing and story arc.

For me, it was least sixteen hours of work on one hundred and fifty pages. About a hundred and eighty "review" comments in the margins (a feature built into Word), plus "big picture" analysis at the end of each chapter. Plus a few copy-editing changes for things like omitted quotes, capitalization, paragraph breaks and so on. What's skilled-trade pay these days, $30 to $35 an hour? Heck of a deal to get for free!

All this with an MS that is done in Times New Roman, justified, with "smart quotes" and auto-hypenization, though it is double-spaced. The justification and auto-hyphenization annoy me so much I turn them off. The rest is too much trouble to change, though I used to correct all his stuff to Standard Manuscript Format: 12-point Courier, ragged right margin, no hyphenization, plain quotes, plain dashes, single underline for italics and double underline for bold, with every page except the first "slugged" with author/page number at the upper right. He started doing proper page numbers and I stopped making such sweeping changes.

Times New Roman -- a proportionally-spaced font -- is supposedly acceptable these days. I won't use it for a manuscript; I wrote thousands of words with typewriters and the non-Courier fonts look wrong to me. I see automatic hyphen traces in lots of books these days, and it annoys me. Most of the fancy automatic stuff in Word (and other high-end word processors) is more trouble than it is worth and correct-on-the-fly spelling checkers are an invitation to problems. Run that after you're done and *look* *at* every proposed change, lest it turn sense into nonsense without you having a chance to catch it.