Well, that’s not completely true. I also don’t have an upset stomach. So maybe I am finally adjusting to these steroids. They seem to be working, too. I have no scabs left on my arms (and they seem to be itching only in that “ugh, new skin!”) way and the stuff on my right leg is tremendously better. And the course she gave me starts to taper down immediately, so Sunday will be my last day.
The ghost stories are set, I hope. I know they’re going to be corny and terrible, but I’m still excited about them anyway. And I had to do some fixes on my Best of Nashville entries and add a few, so I hope they take them all. And I wrote a post for Pith which will go up some time today about the whole Cooper internet fight. I mean it in good fun, so I hope people take it that way. Hard to know, though, since the drugs make it hard for me to judge whether things are actually funny.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, again, about editing. I think I’m a good writer, don’t get me wrong. But I think I’m a good writer at the point where only time and more reading is going to make me any better by myself. Like the ghost stories, for instance. I had a great time writing them and when I reread them, I feel like they’re fun but that maybe they’re not as good as they could be. What could make them better? Hell if I know.
It’s going to take time for me to distance myself from them enough to come to them with fresh eyes and say “Oh, duh, yeah, this is too stuffy and this is too thin and this would work better if I moved it there.” (And honestly, this is one of the reasons I’m posting them, hoping to jar a “Why didn’t I see that?!” moment when I realize that it’s not just me looking at them.)
But one of the things about writing at Pith that hit me this week especially, as I druggedly attempted to write about Abramson’s drug panel, is that there’s always already an editor there, someone you can say “Damn, something is not working with this” and they can say “Yep, that’s for sure. I’m going to move this here, put this there and voila!” Having another set of eyes to look at writing you want to be good (and it’s not that I don’t want this writing to be good, I do, but I mostly just want this writing to be an intimate thing between us) makes you a better writer.
I used to do developmental editing. And I thought, and still do think, I was pretty good at it, at least for the types of writers I worked with, who are mostly good writers who can solve the problems with their writing if only someone with more distance can tell them what their problems are.
Editing, good editing, is missing from great swaths of the internet. Some traditionalists grouch about this because they think it means there’s no filter, no one to make a decision about whether something should be published (and then read). But the truth is that readers make and have always made this determination. What’s missing from the internet is a person who can see a piece and also see its best potential and a path for getting there.
But the sad thing is that this is missing more and more from traditional publishing as well.
I don’t know how that bodes for writing. It’ll be different, that’s for sure. Will people have the sense to hire editors? Will agents do more and more developmental work? What about at newspapers?
I don’t know, but I wonder.