I've been doing a lot of copy editing in the last year. It's satisfying work. The bad kind of satisfying. The drunk-on-self-righteousness kind of satisfying. The "this sentence is a pile of crap and I and only I can whip it into a work of art but not without first nursing some very unkind thoughts about the writer" kind of satisfying.
Okay, I'm being a little hard on myself. I'm not that big a jerk. But I do enjoy getting angry at clunky, fatty, inefficient sentences. I enjoy pummeling them into submission. I enjoy the little rush of outrage I get in the process.
Here's what I don't enjoy so much these days: Looking at my own writing.
Don't get me wrong. I can write some good sentences. Elegant and efficient. But I also excrete some colossal steamers. And it's making me mad.
Here's how thoughts come out of me.
When I consider whether it's important to write shortHere's how I want that to come out of me:
sentences I can't deny that, in more skillful hands, long sentences are, indeed,
often quite effective and, when used as a form of artistic license, can
serve as a form of Cormac McCarthy-esque poetry-as-power sort of device.
Yes, some long sentences kick ass.I suppose the good news is that I'm catching more problems in my own sentences. The bad news is that I don't want to catch them. I want to write sentences perfectly in the first damn place. I can only hope that, slowly, that's what I'm learning to do.
In the meantime, I should probably lighten up on the freelancers I edit who don't know a dangler from a dingleberry.
Nah. That's not gonna happen.