Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where'd That Come From? by Andy Scheer

Yesterday I pulled a late-nighter.

I was on deadline for a book editing project. My normally reliable computer had decided it was time for my word-processing software to begin freezing—requiring a system restart each time.

Because the nonfiction project tipped the scales at just under 34,000 words, I'd scheduled myself to nibble away at the manuscript each day over the course of a month.

So by the time I finished editing the back-matter and began my final polishing pass through the entire manuscript, it had been some time since I'd reviewed much of it.

I knew that as I'd gone along, I'd used Track Changes to mark for the author the places where I felt an expanded example would help.

But I wasn't prepared for the surprise some of those insertions brought me. It's not that they were off-topic. Just the opposite. As the writer examined different fiction genres' special demands for dialogue, setting, research, and the like, I'd been able to pull examples out of my hat.

I hadn't particularly realized I was doing it. I'd just been applying the principle of FOKSIC (fingers on keyboard, seat in chair). But there on the screen in front of me last night I found an insertion about the use of symbolism in Frank Herbert's Dune—a book I've not read in thirty years. I'm grateful I had that in me, along with all the other memorable books I've read.

Amazing what you can accomplish a little at a time—especially with a looming deadline.

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