In Defense Of Doing It Right The First Time | mishaburnett

To Misha Burnett:

I may not have given this impression upon our first meeting, however it is true that I am a rather shy person, all things considered. I confess that, for that reason, among others, I have not been following along. With that in mind, I should say that my surmise is that this post may be in response to comments on your second book.

First, let me here state that I found it most brilliant. Thoroughly enjoyable. I have read it once and am now reading it a second time aloud for my dear Mrs. Emeron’s enjoyment. I have given your name to several of my colleagues, directing them quite enthusiastically to buy your books. One gentleman in particular I think will greatly enjoy it; and I will, in particular, hound him when next I see him if I find he has not yet purchased it. I have helped to bring him into the 21st century this last year, so he is already well-versed in these matters and should easily be able to manage the two or three clicks necessary to do so.

As far as go the minor editing mistakes, I believe it is very true that one cannot find them all on ones own. This is a function of the way our brains work. As an author, I know what is–or rather, what should be–there; this being the case, I may not be able to “see” a missing or repeated word. But truly, there are editors who specialise in this kind of work and I hear they are quite affordable.

Although this is not my profession–no, quite the contrary; I deal daily in abstract symbols and concepts–I might have helped with these minor points, had I been one of your so named “beta-readers.” But alas I am far too shy, and therefore reticent to ask for such an honoured position.

Being, as I am, possessed of a neuro-atypical brain I do tend to see small errors others will not see; but on the other hand, I will not see such errors as are seen easily by others as well, so in any case, I would never be able to compete in the editing market as a paid editor even if it were my desire to do so.

I am no stranger to pain at my age, so I do realise how ones mood and condition may colour ones perspective and, as a result, ones comments. Even given that, certainly you are correct: Everyone writes differently; I myself use a variety of techniques whether writing sonnets or fiction. Sometimes, I write in layers and sometimes I outline. Quite often, I do none of these things, preferring to write from start to finish without pausing at all for reflection.

Since you are now a published author, I would not presume to give you advice–nor would I if the case were otherwise, as I have noticed writers invariably give other writers poor advice and would not want to contribute negatively in this way. I will here state just this one thing: Keep writing. Do not stop. No matter what anyone may suggest. Keep writing.

via In Defense Of Doing It Right The First Time | mishaburnett.

15 responses to “In Defense Of Doing It Right The First Time | mishaburnett

  1. “As far as go the minor editing mistakes, I believe it is very true that one cannot find them all on ones own.”

    I agree. As meticulous a proof reader as I consider myself to be I am not too proud to let another glance at my work. Our minds see what they want to see or expect to see on a page and what is really there is often overlooked. What is really annoying on blogging, for example, in proof reading I always find an error as soon as I press “post comment”.

    your sentence change ones to one’s I think.


    • Yes, I find that also pressing post causes me to instantly see errors I missed.

      Regarding “ones” vs. “one’s,” point taken; however it is the result of a deliberate preference for the archaic. I am far from an expert in these matters; but I have noticed that back across the pond and across the centuries, when such things as grammar were less standardised, one sees both examples of the possessive pronoun in question. I took, and adopted, the former as an attempt at disambiguation in the same way as “its” vs. “it’s” are used.

      Since, in the humanities, I have minimal education to speak of, while dear Mrs. Emeron’s is quite vast, I do such things largely for her delight–as that is, in the main, what my entire site is, so to speak, “all about.” This is also why, although I am proudly of the new world, I use a UK spell-check–I feel (however misguided such a feeling may be : ) it lends some extra, though slight, gravitas to my anachronisms.

      Thank you sir, for dropping by, and especially for posting such an erudite comment. I often make hideous and glaring mistakes in my use of arcane English–I never find them all, and even given that such things were hardly standardised a few centuries back, my Dear Mrs. Emeron is little help on that score, as she operates under the (often mistaken) assumption that my grammatical dalliances are deliberate. In the event that you do happen back from time-to-time, I hope you will see fit to make these known to me, if and when you should happen to notice their occurrence.


    • my Dear Mrs. Emeron is little help on that score, as she operates under the (often mistaken) assumption that my grammatical dalliances are deliberate.


      This is a very interesting post, my dearest. I am enjoying Mr. Burnett’s books and hope he will continue along this most promising path. Any encouragement I can add to the mix I enthusiastically add here! I have been reading speculative fiction for more years than I’d care to count and his books have kept me hopping! I seriously cannot predict what is coming next and that is rare. What a delight.


  2. Mr. Burnett has you to thank. Because of your post, I checked him out. What a delight! and my comment to other such thing is rather rude: nertz to the correction police. I often go back and will find perfection in something I write. Me being me, I’ll make a change and… will be to a grammatical error, mispelling, repeated word, etc. Blame it on the moonshine, blame it on Rio, blame it on the bossa nova but I am going to throw in that wrench to keep it from being perfeckt. You know my mind oft times goes to the wabi sabi approach and I am always thankful for your kindness in not pointing out flaws. You and Mrs. Emeron have always been so gracious and kind to this little wren.

    While I believe in good editing and the necessity for good editing, especially in technical and scientific matters, when it comes to the arts, I am more liberal.

    I shall read more of Mr. Burnett because you encouraged him to keep writing. You did not presoom to know his mind or his art – you simply enjoyed. That was enough for me.


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