Why I Never Edit & Why You Should Learn
He calls, desiring editing services for an action and adventure novel based on his wannabe commando experiences that hold more reality than the writing skill he conjured from a lifetime of no literary education, reading, or practice. Still, having my number, my downfall, allowed him to hammer me with pleas I rejected until he struck the author’s Achilles’ heel — money. Succumbing to capitalism and lack of principle for knowing better, I received the manuscript and some starting cash — nowhere near the desired amount due to his lack of funding. With the masterpiece he claimed “needing only some minor corrections,” so began my dreaded editing job for he who never wrote anything beyond a refrigerator reminder to buy milk.
Calling his draft “a brainstorming session” overstates his many weeks of full-throttled effort that constructed a team of heroes with less literary intrigue than grammatically incorrect Facebook bios. I worked the character descriptions, interlacing them with a hastily-invented plot completely absent from the narrative. As satisfied as possible, having sculpted his mental excrement of protagonist biographies and Frankensteined that pile with my uncaring, idiom-filled, derivative plot, I send him the draft for reading.
He declares himself worthy of a Pulitzer as though the bulk of the book’s pages I added to his incoherent nonsense, now made readable, existed in his original scribbling all along.
After correcting his assumption of the current work being a final draft and informing him of the revision process needed, I received his culturally biased rewriting of the strong Japanese female lead I novelized from his finger-painted anime. He diligently applies his art and challenges me to make new edits, stereotyping,
Like all Japanese women she appears docile but weeds a katana like a man with samaria sword.
Written just that archaically incorrect, line after line of sexism develops the characters in ways that would make a fundamentalist Christian man from the nineteen-twenties disapprove and march for women’s suffrage.
She romatically winked her cute, slanted eye like Sailor Moon. “Me is horney.”
Written just that way, what appears as poor mechanics built on voluminous entertainment references conflated with misspelled misogyny-infused racism reveals as literary genius when this same ability yields Black vernacular constructed solely on barbarized punctuation in later revisions, tokenizing,
Darrin’s Morgan Freeman-like voice echoed in the violently tossed room, “Yo, someone be perpatratin in da house, mudder fuckers.”
Weeks of rewrites emailed back and forth illuminate his uncanny inability to learn from Word’s spell check, my vehemently requested use of Grammarly, or the corrections I digitally volley from my desktop.
We have went to the South America again to stop the drug cartells and that was where we found our newest team member. Juan, call sign, “The Greacer.”
My solemn word to complete the job, coupled with already having spent his money, fuels months of editing misappropriations, misunderstandings, and mistakes slurring race, culture, and language. As broke as the first day cracking his novel and now far more suicidal, I proclaim the book finished, a seminal work, despite being far from anything remotely acceptable for publishing. Relying on his lack of skill to reinforce belief in my declaration, I convince him of his readiness to gift this magical story to a publisher. So begins my hard-fought freedom and his journey into rejection. Yet unsatisfied to just take his text and leave, he instead turns the injurious pittance I earned editing this novel into a final insult presented to me in his joyous-filled, approval-seeking question,
I thought writing a book would be a lot harder and more expensive, I guess I’m a natural, don’t you think?