This post is part of the ‘All the King’s Editor’ series, which is the brainchild of WU contributor Dave King, in which WU contributors will edit manuscript pages submitted by members of the larger WU community, and discuss the proposed changes.
This is intended to be an educational format, and will hopefully generate useful comments on what changes work, which may not work as well, and in either case why.
The posts will appear on WU ~twice monthly. Dave will assume the lion’s share of the burden, with one of the other editors taking over at least once a month.
Each participating editor will have a unique approach, and speak only for him or herself.
If you’re interested in submitting a sample for consideration, click HERE for instructions.
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Hi, everyone. David Corbett here. I get to be the first to present in this new format, where select WU contributors edit manuscript pages that have been submitted for editing. (Yes, I do professionally edit manuscripts.)
Bear with me/us, for we’ll be working out some kinks in the process.
First, I’m going to to present the work with my line edits. Deletions will be marked with
strikethrough; additions will appear in red. Where I think I need to, I will try as best as I can to explain/justify/make excuses for my suggested changes. These explanatory sections will appear in an indented and italicized insert after the section in question.
Finally, at the bottom, after the line-edited text, I’ll have some additional remarks concerning other changes I would like to see on a developmental level.
We’re keeping the authors anonymous, to protect the innocent.
Okay, ready? Here are (what I assume are) the opening pages of Prophets’ Tango.
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For the lucky living, the night was ripe.
with all the degrees and possibilities of true love or common lust; anything might happen. It was the year of the Tiger—Nixon was running scared, Ted Bundy was just getting started, and the tallest buildings in the world opened down on Wall Street.
- Note: I believe the deleted words detract more than they add, and what they convey is presented more explicitly and vividly in what follows (i.e., they’re vague and unnecessary/repetitive). What remains is terse but evocative, imo.
Everyone who was underage in Connecticut was welcome in New York, and with all
All the doors of the Stateline bar were open wide to the night, and the place was packed. Everyone who was underage in Connecticut was welcome in New York. The smoke-laden air inside pulsed out into the heat hot and humid ity of the fecund darkness, only to get and sucked back inside with a tinge of marijuana. There was a A furtive ly urgent commotion drew attention to in a dark corner of the parking lot. Fighting or fucking, it wasn’t clear, and didn’t matter. Payoffs kept the cops busy elsewhere, and April was in a hot hurry to be July.
The amplified sounds of a rock band complete with horns hushed all the night creatures around the ramshackle country bar for a hundred yards in every direction. The music held sway over all, from those in
the worn, holey denim to the spandex and polyester crowd up from the city, and no one could resist the urge to move to the beat. Payoffs kept the cops busy elsewhere. The band, consummate crowd-pleasers, smoothly moved from rock to disco to funk and blues, with occasional stops at country and doo-wop along the way. A jukebox loaded with the top forty was on standby and no one could resist the urge to move to the beat.
Tonight, the revelers would include a woman with no heart and a man with no soul.
- Note: I rearranged some things in the preceding three paragraphs to make the picture clearer and try to make the impressions build from one to the next. I added “to funk and blues” for the sake of rhythm and added texture. I deleted the bit about the jukebox because it seemed extraneous and confusing, given the focus on the band.