Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Editing Rules Your Life.

I'm only three chapters away from finishing the edits on the latest draft of the Mapmaker's Apprentice. Editing is always a hard slog, and this has certainly been no exception, even though it's more big-picture stuff than the nitty gritty sentence structure type things that I'm yet to face.

One of the things I find once I start editing is that, once I have those "editing glasses" on, it's really hard to take them off again. I find I can't read a paper, a document, a book or even a road-sign without subconsciously looking for mis-placed commas or bad grammar or whatever. It's a bit like when you've been driving all day and you go to bed and all you can see is the road winding away in front of you; the repetitiveness burns into your brain.

Someone who is not wearing editing glasses is unlikely to see the world the same way you do. I offer up proof below.

This is a sign I saw on my walk into work this morning. I took the pic and showed it to two people in the office, and neither of them could pick anything out of place. One of them, who happens to be Chinese, went to great pains to read the Mandarin script to see if that's what I was talking about, which I thought was very flattering because I can no more read Mandarin than I can play a piano with my elbow. Neither of them picked anything wrong until I explicitly pointed it out.

I was pretty surprised, but I guess it's proof they're not deep in the editing process at the moment.

What about you -- can you see anything interesting in the pic? Do you have your editing glasses on?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

They never had it when I was a lad...

There's a person at my work who insists on communicating with me by Google-Talk1. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the person sits approximately 10 feet from me, with nothing to separate us but a stretch of carpet and a three foot high desk.

So I'm sitting there working away at my computer and the little chat window pops up, and it's a message from -- let's call him, for the sake of anonymity -- "Barry". And Barry is asking what time I'm going to lunch. Now, perhaps a lot of people would type in an answer, and everyone would go away happy. But for some reason I can't help but find this insistence on not talking just a tad vexing, particularly when Barry is, how do I put this, one of those Engineers who probably would benefit enormously from as much vocalisation as he can get.

So I turn to Barry and I say "Twelve O'clock?". His response is to jump like someone dropped a tarantula down the back of his neck. He then peers at me through his glasses and nods in a kind of dismissive way, as if willing the voices in his head to go away. I'm left feeling like a bit of a meanie, but hopefully my point has been made.

Of course, one of the side-effects of my insistence on meeting his text questions with verbal answers is that the rest of the office now thinks I have a tendency to spout random, unconnected phrases at full volume to nobody in particular. This probably explains why conversation tends to hush when I walk into the kitchen.

1In case you don't know what that is, it's a little chat program that lets you send text from one computer to another, kind of like an instant email.

Friday, April 1, 2011

After the Rain

The After the Rain anthology is finally out and available at a special pre-order price from here. I've only read one of the other stories so far (which is a bit hopeless of me, I know) but it was absolutely fantastic.

When I look at the other authors in the table of contents, I'm still not quite sure how I managed to get into it. But I'm not complaining! (Who would?)