Monday, April 27, 2009

Editing Parties

Grades have been entered and the celebratory sushi has been consumed!

The cats and I are hanging out in Ann Arbor for a few days to see friends and family as well as relax. In preparation of our trip, I spent Sunday morning cleaning my apartment. It's looking pretty good now. Well, at least the living room/kitchen is, the bathroom and my bedroom are next on the list. The situation in those rooms never quite reached the crisis point.

It's amazing. My living room hasn't been that clean since Christmas ... basically since last semester ended and I went on a similar cleaning rampage. My coffee table is clean and clear of all paper. Since the end of January there's been at least a handful of student work on that table waiting to be graded. The cleanness was so pretty I had to leave it.

Sunday afternoon I went to an editing party -- a wonderful idea orchestrated by the Ms. Corey. Corey has written a young adult zombie novel, with a fresh (and really cool) new twist on "zombie." It's hilarious ... or at least the parts I've read are. She's gotten some interest in it from the publishing world but was asked to make edits -- which she has been furiously working on for the past month -- and this is where the editing party comes in.

She invited as many of us over as could fit in her apartment, gave us food and two chapters each to proofread. We sat with our diet Coke and our red pens and hunted out the last of the typos hiding out in the pages, flagged confusing phrases, and debated the usage of commas.

Dude, how many English grad students does it take to figure out comma rules? Apparently five and a librarian.

The thing about comma rules is that they become more rigid in formal academic work and they get more flexible in novels and then very flexible in commercial novels. So we're trying to find that sweet spot between confusion, proper English, style, and readability. It's a difficult place to find.

All in all, it was a really great idea and something I hope happens again and again while I'm at the writing program. We got to socialize, Corey got proofreaders, and we felt like we were helping. I believe Ms. Corey has been very smart about this. Particularly that she's asked lots of people to read very small amounts rather than begging us to read the whole thing from beginning to end. However, there's quite a bit of interest in reading the whole thing beginning to end now that we've gotten a taste of it!

Highly Recommended