Jenny Garden



March 7, 2016

Tags: yourownediting

I don't have much that's original to say about doing your own editing. After the fifth time, it becomes a pain, but a pain that must be endured. It was Jonathan Swift who wrote: Blot out, correct, insert, refine/ Enlarge, diminish, interline/ Be mindful, when invention fails/ To scratch your head, and bite your nails.

I'll bet you didn't know there was a committee formed to make editing suggestions to the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson refused to submit his work. But old Ben Franklin convinced him with a story about a hat maker opening his first store. His sign would say: "John Thompson, hatter, makes and sells hats for ready money." The friends he showed his draft to thought "hatter" was unnecessary because the sign said "makes and sells hats." He didn't need "makes" because customers only had to know that he had hats to sell. Someone mentioned that no shop in their town accepted credit, so he didn't need "for ready money." And why "sells"? No one would expect him to give the hats away. A large picture of a hat would be on the sign, so "hat" was also unneeded. What was left? The man's name, John Thompson, and the picture of a hat. Jefferson got the point and listened to the committee.

And after you have edited, reworked, and rewritten until you think you may go blind, you need to turn your work (and the headaches) over to a professional editor.

Selected Works

Practical suggestions to help the reader avoid the pitfalls of a divorce lawsuit.
A lighthearted but thorough explanation of the holiday in a picture book for young children.