Just as my editor does more than make sure my sentences and paragraphs make sense, my proofreader does more than ensure spelling and punctuation. Both are writers themselves. Equally important, both are avid readers.
The first proofreading pass of That She Is Made of Truth garnered some confused commentary from my proofreader, James. Plot points unclear, connections muddled — I could tell he wondered, a bit, what I was doing.
Best Beloved has been patiently listening as I rummage through piles of notes, paper and digital, to list every single task left to get Anodyne ready for my editor. Once that’s done, I estimate the level of time and effort for each, we lay out a work plan for all the tasks, and I go to work.
Used to work with my buddy Mike. He serviced pet grooming equipment, which is way more fun and interesting than it sounds. Huge mobile workshop.
Biggest part of the business was sharpening clipper blades. Clippers have two blades sliding back and forth past each other so unlike knives, which need a beveled edge, clipper blades need to be flawlessly flat on their face, the surfaces where they meet.
When Mike first started training me, sometimes I’d ask him to check my edge. Are these sharp enough? Am I overdoing it, grinding too much metal away, shortening the life of the blade? Am I working fast enough?
Because he’s the closest friend I’ve had in my whole life, our conversations included a bunch of personal sharing you might not expect to find in a greasy hairy machine shop on a truck. Life, the universe, and everything — we covered it all.
In time, the phrase “check my edge” came to mean more than the mechanics of blade sharpening. I’m almost 20 years older than Mike. He grew up in the country, having adult responsibilities when he was quite young. We each had a vast storehouse of experience and knowledge the other didn’t. We shared. A lot.
When one of us asked the other, “Hey, check my edge?” it was about the value of another mind and heart, another set of life experiences, weighing in on a choice, a challenge.
Besides Dave’s and Tom’s, the three I drop everything to read the instant there’s something posted are Larry Brooks’ storyfix, Steve Pressfield, and Rosanne Bane’s Bane of Your Resistance which is one of the best blog titles on the web.
In the meantime, tell me: what blogs are on your “must read” list, your “drop everything” list, your “catch up when I have a few minutes” list?
Tom Bentley mentioned Hope Clark in a recent post. I thought I’d share his comments. Her site and newsletter are intriguing.
Hope Clark has long sent out a writing newsletter that’s been chockablock filled with writing tips, grants and other publishing opportunities for writers. I’ve subscribed for years, and am always delighted, particularly with her thoughtful editorials. She’s also a mystery novelist of some acclaim.
[l1]I[/l1]n the years since we met in Seth Godin’s online network, I’ve met Tom Bentley in that ethereal thing called real life more than once—too few times and each too short. Twice I’ve managed to whine him into writing song lyrics for me, despite his persistent insistence that he’s not a songwriter. We’ll address that later. For now, feel free to form an opinion on whether or not he’s a storyteller: Continue reading “Marty’s Violin: Guest Post by Tom Bentley”