Here's one of the things that is occupying my Library-and-Museum-are-still-closed days currently. Once again I am doing the edit for a friend's book. This is the sort of project that I really enjoy because it is so very interesting and I learn so much!
The part you do not see in the picture is that I usually do this in front of my computer so that i can look things up. Not spelling, punctuation or grammar. For the most part, I'm all set there. I can make those changes with confidence. But I need to constantly check other things.
For example: This particular book is an historic piece so I'm always looking for anachronisms. If a piece of machinery is mentioned, I check to be certain when it was invented, if a book title comes up, I gotta be sure it was published before that date. It's those sorts of things. Zippers? Combustion engines? Ether? The Book, "Call of the Wild"? All of those things are in this book and I have to be sure it's possible given the time frame of this story.
I check things like the proper spelling of famous people's names and incorporation dates of real towns. When historic events are mentioned I have to be sure that it happened in the right geographic area, the correct time frame and find out if it is plausible for that event to impact the fictional story as written.
More than that, I am constantly on alert for storyline continuity. If character A says something in chapter 9 and then does the exact opposite in chapter 29 there has to be something in between to explain the change of plan. Or if someone stands up in a chapter, they had to have been previously sitting or lying down. You'd be surprised at how often that happens.
When I read for pleasure I read very quickly. I want to know what happens next in the story. My dad used to say that I "ate" books because I read so quickly. But when I'm editing I go very slowly because I don't want to miss any important detail. I've been working on this editing project for more than a week now.
I actually enjoy doing this. I'm a detail oriented person anyway and I love to read. Sounds like a match :)
The only time it's a problem is when I am really enjoying the story too much because then my brain goes to auto-correct and I am only reading the story and not on alert for needed corrections. And it does happen. In which case, I have to go back and re-read the chapters I just flew through, this time with an eagle eye and ready fingers on the key of the computer.
In another time, I would be in a library looking all of these things up in actual books instead of googling everything. Even though googling is much easier and therefore faster, I actually miss sitting in a library, surrounded by books checking all of these details. Primarily because I would stumble across other delightful tidbits of information. When I google, it's direct. Straight to the answers I seek. In a book, I learn all sorts of extra things. The things I never knew I wanted to know!
And too, a library is filled with books, actual real honest to goodness books. There is nothing quite like it for me. Holding a book in my hands and thumbing through the pages is a sensory delight. It's about the smell of it, the feel of it, the sound of the pages riffing by. I can find information on the computer but emotionally, it's just not the same for me.
The computer brings me knowledge, but not joy.
Still I'm having a great time with this project which is a little more than half done.
The funniest part of doing this sort of project, at least to me, is that when I finish up and move on to reading just for my own pleasure, I find myself still making mental corrections. I cannot seem to help myself. I don't write in to tell the author or the publishing company (or the newspaper or magazine) that they made an error. I would never presume. And I'm not one of those people who goes around correcting other people's grammar or word choices or anything annoying like that in conversation. That's just rude.
But quietly, on the inside, I cannot help but fix the boo boo in my own head all the while just smiling and nodding never ever mentioning it. Most of the time I know what they meant. And that's sufficient to the task at hand.
So it's back to "work" on the edit for me today. Not that it's really work. I'm not sure what to call it. But whatever it is, I'm going to try to finish it up this week.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.