Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The most boring job in the world...

At the moment - I'm back in England, and back to work - I'm editing.

Which is normally fairly interesting. In fact, I quite like it. It doesn't have the same highs and lows as writing the first draft: no dire writers'-block days, no euphoric flights-of-fancy nights... There's no real pressure, because you've got something, there's no blank page staring back at you balefully - and chances are, if you're editing from someone else's notes, the book's already been accepted. You can just do a bit of tinkering. It feels mechanical, sometimes, but in the bext possible way: this bit doesn't work here, so there must be something missing there... It's very like working on a machine. And at the end, if you get it to work, you get a feeling of quiet satisfaction, which isn't as exciting as finishing a first draft - but then, it didn't require anything like the same amount of input.

Normally. At the moment, however, I am doing the MOST BORING EDITING IN THE WORLD. I am transposing pretty much AN ENTIRE NOVEL from the present tense to the past. I cannot tell you how boring this is. And no, you might be surprised to learn, there is no Word function that can do it for you, because Word is not that sophisticated. ("This is a long sentence." Thanks, grammar check, if only I'd realised.) It really, actually means you have to change, or at least check, EVERY VERB in EVERY SENTENCE. Did I mention that it was boring?

The novel is, of course, a work of genius. But I can't face actually reading it as I go. No, I skip morosely from verb to verb, stopping every now and then to realise I've changed a whole lot of direct speech from present to past and need to change it back. It is very, very boring. And takes HOURS.

I'm going to stop now. This is already quite a long whinge, as whinges go. It's probably quite boring.

Then again, that's quite appropriate.

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