This week we will see the middle of July. How can that be? My life has been loaded, bloated, and exploded for months, but these last few days I have been working like crazy with every spare minute I can find. I am determined to enter the Ozark Writers’ League contest due by September 1. Yes, I do think September is going to be on us in just a jiffy.
So I let the dust gather….wipe up only the big things like bathrooms….refuse to see cobwebs….nearly trip over shed dog hair (so much it looks like a small dog is hiding in the corners!)…and avoid going to Walmart at all costs. I fail my friends for chatter and shopping. I deal with only the big things in the family. Emails are skimmed and put on a waiting list.
The OWL contests are full of various categories. I want to enter several. I have three pieces of fiction and thought one was ready to go. I wrote…edited…edited again….edited a third time. Then today before printing the final copies I sat down for another read. Oh golly, I found mistakes scattered about like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs! How could this be? I fixed one more time and got another surprise. Somehow I was 150 words over the word limit! AUGHHHH as my friend Charlie Brown would say. So back to the drawing board. I think I am ready to say this story is done now.
Writing the story is just the beginning. Proofreading and editing are just as much work! Then, if you are submitting to a publication or entering a contest, you have to follow the rules which are different everywhere. A cover sheet…no, name on copy….page numbers on left side of page…no, on right side of page….paper clip…absolutely no paper clip. Email only, never email but use snail mail, or maybe you have to use a submissions manager. Send as document…no, send no attachments! Whew, it is hard to keep every detail in mind and do it right.
Then I think about the author of Stone Fox ( a YA novel) who could not spell a thing right. He wrote in longhand…and the publisher fixed it all for him. And how about Thomas Wolfe, wasn’t he the man who wrote in long hand while standing over a refrigerator? Computers help but writing is still work…but great work when you can get it!
So how do you handle edits? How many times do you read a piece before thinking nothing has escaped your eye?