[DWJ] not writing one's own books

Margaret Ball margaret at onr.com
Tue Jun 13 18:56:23 EDT 2006

Minnow wrote

> The book that made me wonder who had written it had no name other than
> "Anne McCaffrey" either on the cover or on the copyright and credits page.
Which one was it?

If there wasn't anybody else's name on it then I expect Annie wrote it 
herself and the editor failed to clean it up.  At the time when we were 
working together - about 10 years ago -  she was working so fast that 
her first drafts were full of typos and run-on sentences and what have 
you. I got in the habit of tidying up the previous day's work every 
morning before starting a new passage. I got the impression that she 
found this behavior utterly amazing and thought I was doing menial work 
that should be left to an editor.

I suppose it's just a matter of different tastes...I'm certainly not 
claiming that I never committed an awkward sentence...the difference is 
that some people can leave a first draft in a messy condition and churn 
ahead with the story, but if I hear something wrong with the prose then 
I feel compelled to clean it up before going on. Writing on past obvious 
errors or unfortunate phrases that I've already noticed feels like 
starting to cook a five-course meal in a dirty kitchen.

-Margaret Ball

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