Basically just an update here. Been working hard on my most recent edit. I once read a review of a book where the reader (and this was a reader review, not a periodical/journal/etc.) said that it appeared as if every sentence was carefully crafted. As if the writer spent years looking at each sentence to make sure that it was as perfect as possible.
Do I pretend that I can come to that type of perfection? I wish! But I have taken a lot more time to read through this edition. This is the third full edit. Unlike other edits where I pound through it in less than a week, I have spent a little over a month working on this.
One of my 'trademarks' is a sort of stream of consciousness approach to some topics. It can make the reading difficult for some, and it comes off as pretentious to many, but that is the manner in which I write. Sometimes, however, this can leave some serious mechanical flaws in sentence and paragraph structure which kills the flow of the story. So that it what I tried to work on this time around; taking those streams and making sure that I did not lose structure just to gain some sort of substantive pretentiousness.
There were some pretty obvious structural things which I caught this time through which were missed on edits one and two. Additionally, there were some words that were spelled properly, and yet were the wrong words. One example I discovered tonight - 'an' where the word 'any' should have been. errors like this will stilt the readers experience as they try to decipher the proper word. Linguistics tell us that this happens almost instantaneously and is not even noticed, but if there are too many written mistakes such as this, then that could be the difference in a book being set down or completed.
The art of writing is a passion, but then there must be the grinding it out work of editing. And it is work, but a necessary part of the process. The more I edit, the more I learn about my writing and the better I can become.
So, I take no more than one chapter at a time. I give myself all the time I need to pour over the words. When I complete the chapter, I save it, close it, and move on to something else. Sometimes reading, sometimes preparing food for the next day. But I give myself a break from the editing process before returning. It might be ten minutes later - or twenty minutes - or a full day. But each time, I come back with a fresh perspective and do not feel like I am trying to rush through the edit.
At the end of the day, not everyone will like my work. That is the thing about art, each individual has their own tastes. Some current modern masterpieces of literature still get one star reviews. A person in a small farming community like Dufur, Oregon, may despise Infinite Jest and find it mind-numbingly pretentious. Or maybe someone in New York City would be turned off by some of the scenes from City on Fire. Does that take away from the work? Not in my mind.