brni (brni) wrote,

the perils of editing

Earlier today we did a reading and signing at Between Books in Claymont, DE. A successful afternoon for all, I think. But I learned something very important.

I read The Path That Few Have Trod, a story I wrote back in 2006, I think. It came out fairly recently in print (some years after it was sold), and I remembered being fond of it. And I still am.


I've learned a lot in the last few years. And as I read, the Editor kicked in. "You already used that word twice in this sentence, and three time in this paragraph." "Redundant. Strike this line." "Did you really think this was clever?" And so on. A running commentary in the back of my head as I read. Very disconcerting.

The lesson learned? Turn off the editor before you start reading aloud to an audience. Read it through beforehand, and make peace with the things you'd do differently.

Alternately, rewrite the story about an hour before the event starts and read from the rewritten copy. (Rewriting the night before is too much distance - you'll still find things you could have done better glaring off the page to distract you.)
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