Right now I'm in the process of editing one of my own novels. It's a tedious process, but one that I hope will have rich rewards. I could go on and on about that particular topic, since (after a couple of years of leaving it alone) I'm falling in love with my book all over again. I think it's about ready, but...that's not really what this post is about.
Editing is hard. Hard, yo. You've got to take everything you've written, read over it a bazgillion times, just to make sure you have worded everything as well as possible, that you have explained everything as well and concisely as possible, that you have made your characters as believable as possible. Sometimes you have to make changes you don't want to make, but it's all in the effort to make the story, characters, words as good as possible. So yes, that's the trouble with editing.
The OTHER trouble with editing is something I really wasn't expecting. Say, after spending some time editing my book, I want to go read a book that didn't come out of my own head. So I read another book, just wanting to enjoy some effort-free fun for a bit.
Only, suddenly the editor in me doesn't want to die! I find myself trying to just enjoy a stupid novel, when all of the sudden I see something that catches my attention. In a lot of books these days, there ARE OBVIOUS ERRORS, which drives me crazy. So the editor in me just wants to punch both the author and publisher in the face, out of tough love, of course.
And you know, I was doing stuff like that way before I was writing my own books. My mama is an English teacher. I always loved English. I liked it when we diagrammed sentences. In college (and sometimes now) I'll diagram sentences for fun. That's what kind of sick person I am, okay.
So I don't really think that the obvious editing errors I catch are a symptom of being an unpublished novelist. Those are just symptoms that I'm not right in the head and can't turn off the inner Grammar Nazi.
But sometimes when I'm reading a book, I find myself second-guessing the way something is worded, the way a word is overused, the way a character seems to do something slightly out of character. And suddenly I'm seizing up the book and trying to tap the words on the page with my finger cursor, so that I can correct something that is simply not mine to correct.
I have a problem.
I wonder how professional editors handle this sort of thing. I mean, editors of actual novels that work for actual publishing companies probably don't have this problem, because when do editors of actual novels that work for actual publishing companies ever have TIME to read anything that they're not actively editing?
But other type editors and other Englishy writer-type folks...
Do you have this problem? Let me know I'm not alone!!!!