Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Variation on a Theme

I have been blogging about the books I read over the past year--and I will continue to review the ones I read in the year ahead.

But I take a brief break now to look at the other "end" of books. For every book you read, someone  had to write it.

While my father was alive, he spent several years writing, editing, re-writing his memoirs. He lived a  long and full life, so he had much to write about.
As a former missionary, he watched as other missionaries he know wrote AND published their memoirs. Quite a few of those were self-published, and my dad longed to have his memoirs published as well.

He had printed out full copies for each of his children, he gave a copy to the church archives, but he did not publish his memoirs for distribution.

After his death, I decided to edit these memoirs, condense some of the content (my dad could be wordy), eliminate some passages that were downright tedious (think the begats in the Bible).  I contacted the editor of the historical journal of the church to which my father belonged. And she was amenable, even encouraging of this effort.

So I began.

I edited and edited and edited. I read, re-read, rephrased...I have no doubt I read his original text a half a dozen times, and the edited version that I worked on perhaps as many times. Then I sent it to the editor. She in turn edited it, giving me the option to accept, or reject her suggestions (I mostly agreed as she has a fine eye for what works) or rework a passage if I thought the information was germane to the whole story.
I delivered the final final final work and then the journal editor sent it off to the company that publishes the journals.

On Sunday, I got a note from the editor--the printed journal had arrived!
So today, I picked up my complimentary copies as well as few extra to send to family members.

The completion of this project makes me very happy. In my thinking, it was one of the best ways to honor my father's memory. And by the journal publishing them, these memoirs will have a greater distribution than it would have had if my dad had self-published and given copies away.

Every book that I read was written AND edited by someone. I take my proverbial hat off to all of you who are authors, editors and publishers. 


Climenheise said...

I haven't read it as often as you, but I have read the unedited version. I look forward to reading the final product.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful thing to do for your father. A book filled with his work and yours as well. I also have tremendous respect for good writers. Not the ones who crank out variations of the same story twice a year, but the dedicated creative ones who do research and bring wonderful stories to life.

Anvilcloud said...

What a great thing to do. With a SIL author I begin to appreciate even more the editing and revising process. I first really began to understand this when I was asked to help teach a writer's course. In our introductory notes was an example of Timothy Findley doing (I think) 16 revisions of a section.

Anvilcloud said...

I should add that all through uni I just wrote and handed in essays without looking them over at all. Fortunately, I could write pretty well, but still, I was so ignorant.