Tales of editing Tales of Tatta


Somewhere between 3 to 5 hours to edit one chapter….
I wish I’d taken notice of when I actually started because it is astonishing when you start to add up the time exactly how long it takes to create a novel. The initial story is one thing, it’s the tweaking, the grammar, all the little additions that take the time to get it, just so. The reader, of course, won’t notice. They’ll happily read a page totally oblivious to the amount of stress that went into producing that short piece of the story but they would definitely notice if all the little extras weren’t there and that is the reason us pedantic perfectionists go back again and again checking and refining over and over just to be sure.
I have to be honest. When I started out I thought those things weren’t important. I arrogantly thought I could bang a novel off, check it a couple of times and that was it: bestseller!
Hmmmm, what do I know? It turns out that because of my misspent schooldays I know nothing like as much about English as I thought. Yes, I can write but the details of grammar, even simple things like some capitals and when to use possessive apostrophes were way beyond my reading-books-by-‘proper’-authors learnt education. It was only after having my work critiqued by a proofreader that I found out exactly how little my half-an-education-ex-reform-school-thicko education was letting me down. Arrogance and a vague ability to tell a story aren’t going to make up for being a dumbo unfortunately so now I have to go over every word, every comma, like a proper author rather than thinking I’m too smart for that level of investment in my ‘art’.
The difference is astonishing. The fact is that the few novels I’ve brought up to standard are now good enough for English teachers and other novelists to read without me having to worry I’ll be unveiled as the oik I undoubtedly am. Whether it will help me sell a million is another matter but at least if I do have any success I, hopefully, won’t get ridiculed for spelling necessary wrongly or forgetting my mother’s possessive apostrophe.
Of course if you have actually finished school these things are no doubt taken for granted. One day maybe I won’t have to spend so much time going back over my mistakes but for now it’s a steep learning curve.
Hopefully Tales of Tatta will be back on my webpage all spangly, with lots of fresh exciting prose and metaphors, similes and cliches, correctly updated and grammarified in a few weeks.


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