Friday, June 06, 2014

Writing: You Be The Editor

I've previously mentioned the editing process. First there's the editorial letter. This one sets forth the editor's evaluation of the manuscript--the plot, the characters, what's good and what needs to be fixed. It may be followed by a chocolate binge on the part of the writer, but it results in a revision of the original manuscript.

Then comes the line edit. This is where yet another editor (often one contracted by the publisher rather than on their permanent staff) reads through the revised manuscript for inconsistencies, poor syntax, awkwardly written sentences, etc. These may cause the writer to say, "Oh, that helps," or might bring forth, "Why are they trying to rewrite my work?"

The last is a galley edit, and there the focus is on typos and small things not picked up on prior edits. This is the last step before publication of the book.

Authors almost always complain that editors meddle with their writing, some more than others. But editors have a tough task. Monday night's episode of one of my favorite TV shows, Mike and Molly, gave me an idea that I'd like to share with you.

Molly has decided she wants to be a writer, and like most writers, she's having a crisis of faith. She tells her mother-in-law she spent hours on one sentence, trying to get it right. Molly mentions the sentence, and her MIL immediately suggests a version that's better.

So, now you're the editor. Here's the sentence (I don't have it exactly, but you'll get the idea): She stood by thinking silently.

You can't use several sentences to do this, just one. How would you change it? Please leave your answer in the comments. (And if enough people comment, there might be a prize for the best version).

Come back Tuesday for my own thoughts and comments (and maybe that prize we were talking about).

(Picture via freedigitalphotos.net)

20 comments:

laynah said...

She stood by ruminating mutely.

laynah

Linda Glaz said...

I read my own so many times, that I start reading what I think is correct. I'm so bad at this.

Evelyn Mays said...

She stood, silently allowing the thoughts to sift through her mind.

Amy C said...

Contemplating, she stood quietly.

Mama Cat said...

But 'Mary' kept all these things and pondered them in her heart....

Katherine Hyde said...

She stood by, thinking.

(Thinking is generally silent, so "silently" goes. The sentence without the comma is ambiguous. Therefore this is the most economical correct way to phrase the thought. Not necessarily the most poetic.)

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, everyone. If you think of an even better way to cast the sentence, feel free to leave another comment. No limit.

Linda Glaz said...

Without a sound, her thoughts took form.

shirley said...

Silently, she stood listening and thinking.

Deb Haggerty said...

She stood there, silently thinking.

Mikal said...

Quietly, to the side, she stood thinking.

Good thing I'm not an editor! LOL!

Lori Edmonson said...

She stood there, quietly lost in thought.

Patricia Bradley said...

She considered the problem, allowing her mind to sift through the possible outcomes.1306

Anonymous said...

She silently stood there thinking.

She silently stood by, thinking.

She stood silently by the door, while thinking over the facts known.

Joyce Guard
guardje13@hotmail.com

Varina Denman said...

Maggie absent-mindedly nudged a rock with the toe of her loafer, squinting as if she might find a solution underneath.

Bonnie Engstrom said...

She stood silently, thinking.

That's my take. Hope you like it.

~Cindy~ said...

Deep in thought, she stood there, she had no words left to say about this matter.

bullssoxfan23 said...

She stood there, silently contemplating.

Ralene said...

Quite honestly, the sentence is boring and doesn't really tell/show the reader anything. I'd scrap the whole thing and use deep POV to show her thoughts.

However, given that is not the assignment, I guess I would go with:

Mary stood by, deep in thought.

Varina Denman said...

Ha! Oh dear! I acted as a writer and not an editor. Bless Molly's heart, I seriously meddled with her writing.

Thanks for making me think!