I’m a murderer.
There. That’s off my chest.
Huh. You’d think I’d feel better after confessing. I certainly thought I would.
But I don’t.
I feel just like I did before I ‘fessed up.
Fine. Just fine.
I suppose it’s because the little buggers deserved it.
No, wait. That’s not true. They didn’t.
It was my fault. But they still had to die.
This happens every time I edit a book.
Or a blog post.
No, I’m not talking about my characters. You can’t kill people who aren’t real, and they aren’t real.
No matter how much you love them, or enjoy watching them undress in that one scene you wrote just so you could watch them undress.
But words are real.
You see, I have this funny habit when I’m editing. If I’m correcting a misspelling, or changing the tense, or switching from an -ed to an -ing ending, I feel a qualm.
I feel like I’m killing the letters, or, if it’s an ambitious edit, the words.
Replacing an upper case letter for a lower case because the word doesn’t start a sentence any more?
Feels like orphaning a child.
Right in front of the child.
(I named that letter Bruce, and now he’s grown up and fills my nightmares with a sense of being persecuted.)
Because the letters know it’s coming. They see the edit before it happens, just like I do.
They anticipate the coming death, but are powerless to stop it.
I suppose this makes the editing more fun.
Well, less drudgery-ish, anyway.
Anything to add excitement, and what’s more exciting that a little murder?
Yes, making screaming noises when you kill the letter ‘a’ (Ahhh!) or ‘n’ (Noooo!) is more exciting, but then the people around you in the coffee shop get all judgmental.
And edge away.
Definitely a great way to get more space when you’re forced to share a large table in a really crowded coffee shop.
But then you get thrown out and banned from the establishment for life.
Now that I do all my editing at home, the Missus has insisted I mustn’t scare the children by making my dying letters beg for their lives.
Personally, I think she’s worried I’ll give the kiddos ideas. They already make little wails for their Vienna sausages before popping them into their mouths.
“But I have a wife and a dozen mini sausages!” is a common refrain around the kiddo dining table.
Yes, it is my fault.
But enough about my kids. I hate parents who go on and on about their ‘wonderful’ kids. Let’s get back to talking about me.
I don’t know exactly when this anthropomorphizing started. I don’t remember doing it in high school or college. It must have happened after that.
Sometime between when I worked graveyard and when I attended my first nanowrimo write-in.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The doctor has offered me medication that would make the letters stop whimpering just before I hit the Backspace key, but I find those drugs impair my ability to write.
If I have to choose between being able to write or letters and words living in a world without fear, I choose tormenting the letters and words.
Consider it payback, alphabet and dictionary, for all the words hurled against me in grade school by classmates who thought I was weird just because I preferred to read during recess and lunch, and listen to the teacher, and do my homework, and pass my tests.
But it’s not just me, right? You other writers out there feel the same thing when you delete portions of your works in progress, yes?
Please, please agree with me.Or I’ll kill this ‘a’.
I’ll do it! I
(Ahh! Noo!) totally will!
Thirty one letters and five punctuation marks lost their lives in the course of editing this posting. Happy? I know I am.