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Can I Edit My Own Book?

My mother would have said, in response to that question, “You can but should you?”

Most people assume that running ‘Spell Check’ is all the editing that their work requires. This fatal literary mistake is not, however, without justification. Let me explain by giving you an example:

For the sake of this story, we will call our valued client ‘Tom’ in order to protect the guilty. One of the reasons that Tom had chosen a particular editing service (not us) was because they had told him that they were happy to work from an electronic copy of his book. Tom hadn’t realised the sinister reason the ‘Editing’ company insisted on working with a word copy of his manuscript. His ignorance cost him dearly.

As it turned out, all the ‘editor’ had done was run the manuscript through Grammarly. The result totally changed our client’s work and his meaning.

Tom’s carefully crafted character dialogue, using passive voice and colloquialisms, had all been homogenised, like so much milk, for the American market.

As a consequence of this common publishing con, Tom concluded that he might as well edit his own work using Grammarly (a spell and grammar checker). After his Beta Readers literally laughed at his manuscript (it was an action adventure story so Tom wasn’t happy), Tom finally came to us.

Sadly, what the people behind Grammarly and most ‘Spell Check’ programs don’t realise is that writing well is an art and cannot be encompassed by a computer system.

There has been much talk by the world’s elite, over the last 10 years, of AI (Artificial Intelligence) replacing human beings. Interestingly, if we ignore the hubris and limit ourselves to examining the evidence, we find that the more complex we make our computer programs, the more useless they become.

We still cannot accurately predict the weather more than three days ahead. Every COVID computer model was wildly wrong. Our Masters, who own Facebook and YouTube, pride themselves on their bots and their algorithms and have pretentiously taken to calling them ‘Artificial Intelligence’, despite the fact that they are not self-aware. Ultimately, all of these computer programs have made their products unusable.

The other problem writers have to deal with is the mind’s tendency of seeing what it expects to see. It is a truism that a manuscript is not ready to print until the writer is sick of it. By this point in the writing process you will be blind to the mistakes in your work and it is doubtful that a computer will pick them up either.

It is for this reason that we, at Libertad Communications, work from a printed copy of your manuscript and line edit one sentence at a time backwards.

Do you have any editing stories you would like to share? Why not drop us a line at the Libertad office. We would love to hear from you.

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