Pedantic Semantics

A few weeks ago I received back from my publishers the first edit/proof-read of ‘Shadows in Sunshine’. Pleasingly there was not too much red ink on the pages, and most was to point out silly mistakes of mine. At each correction or comment, however, I found myself reading, not just the line or phrase, but the whole page, and more than that I started to look intently at the phrases, feeling the urge to change a word here and a word there. Before I knew it I was engaged in that nightmare in which I felt obliged to phone the publisher and tell him to wait another two years while I rewrote the book. Sanity returned in the form of my wife, who also acts as my ‘in house’ proof-reader and harsh critic. “I do like this, you’ve got Al Djebbar’s opening speech just right,” she said. So I put the thesaurus away and returned to concentrating purely on my publisher’s marks and comments. As an author I must learn that I will never be wholly satisfied with what I have written and will always look at other writers work in admiration of their phrasing, but it is their phrase and story line, not mine, their words, not mine. So I will save the game of ‘pedantic semantics’ for my next manuscript and hope when that comes back from the first edit/proof-read that I will be less inclined to enter that nightmare world of self doubt.

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