Philosophy of Writing – 8 – A Case Study

Posted on March 17, 2012 by


Trapezoid I (Detail). 2010. .75×1.5m graphite/ink/charcoal Defty K. Menglesis |

Trapezoid I (Detail). 2010.
.75×1.5m graphite/ink/charcoal
Defty K. Menglesis |

I’m going off-script now. I’m going to need you. Now we get up to our elbows in blood and bone, together.

In a few days, I’m going to start a series of professionally relevant, deeply difficult edits. Publishing, so I gather, is a business that keeps its cards close to its chest; I don’t want to tell you why I’m editing, or what, or for whom.

I’ll be blogging about the process as it happens: what type of changes I’m going to make, the various approaches I use to solve problems. I imagine most of the work I do will be content edits: lopping off enormous chunks of text, grafting new ones on, stitching the manuscript back together afterwards.

How convenient — just as I was beginning to cover content editing. Perhaps this process will be of some use to you. Perhaps my mistakes will serve as lessons about which techniques to avoid. I’ll try to report happenings as faithfully as I can, but I’ll use newly-created text as examples rather than the genuine article. I love you but I won’t ruin my career for you, so at times you’ll have to be content with vagueness and summary.

I’m a nervous wreck. Am I good enough? Can I make these cuts; can I make them cleanly enough? I want to be good — a really good writer — and I don’t know, honestly I don’t, whether or not I’ll be able to write these edits up to my own standard. I hope you’ll join me; I hope you’ll help me.