Expectations

You ever read another’s book, and begin editing it to improve grammar, pacing or story-telling, or think that the character should have been changed, or think about how you’d change the words because a sentence is awkward or sloppy?

I encounter this all the time. But I can’t edit or change it; that book is done. That’s why I’m reading it.

One of the best aspects of reading and editing my own work is that I can enjoy the story and make those changes. Massaging and polishing the elements mentioned in the first paragraph, and more beyond that short list, becomes satisfying, exciting, and rewarding.

Conversely, though, I don’t know how much of my entertainment comes from reading these written words versus enjoying the expansion of my interior worlds being made real. Deep in this forest of words, I’m having a damn fine time, but could anyone else read this and have the same experience?

Well, no, probably not. Writers know what we write, and what others find and take from our words rarely match. Readers develop their own set of expectations as they read our work. As we write from our experiences, so they read from their experiences.

That completes the lap of thought, and I’m back at the start, and the rhetoric about wanting to change another’s book.

Surely, of all that’s possible, that’s not what that writer expected. And that’s why we edit and revise, and have editors, so that we don’t put out that book that someone reads and wants to change.

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