Self-Help Book Revision Time

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Revising time starts today! I know, almost a month after I finished drafting my self-help book for people with brain injury in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I exceeded my word count goal of 25,000 words — writing 39,166 words — and completed the draft! Both by the 22nd. Kind of stunning! And draining.

That’s partly why I’ve been dragging my heels over revision time. Sure, I had bad fatigue to recover from, medical appointments that sucked me dry, but I also couldn’t again face the grief and remembered difficulties (such a neutral word for terrible times).

Revising Begins

Today, though, I felt ready. After I discovered words and edits were pouring out of my fingers as fast as they did in April, I phoned my editor. He and I had discussed me calling him when I was ready to send some samples.

He answered the phone, and five minutes later, I was pumped over revising the self-help book! Writing is a solitary endeavour…although…in fiction writing, characters keep you company. But this self-help book is far from fictional. And it’s truly heartening to have an editor in the messy business of revising with you.

He wants me to send my revisions in bits to him, and his summer student will work with me. I’ve already set her her first task, one I researched and pondered and kind of got nowhere so I left it temporarily. I need a word. A new word. The English language has a mind-blowingly large vocabulary, but sometimes, it’s really limiting. The pre-pandemic contretemps over neutral pronouns revealed both the great need for English to reacquire one and how little people understand language.

English Needs A New Word

Anyway, I need a new word because English has exactly one word to describe many kinds of this one word, yet one kind overrides all the others in our minds when we hear it, which just will not do.

I suggested looking at Old English, before all kinds had been reduced down to one word. Really, why did English narrow the vocabulary to one word to describe many kinds of this one word?! In any case, the new word needs to sound right and look right, and we need to take into account the Great Vowel Shift when spelling it.

Ramryge angels at Gloucester Cathedral, England

Brain injury grief is

extraordinary grief

research proves

needs healing.

What’s the Great Vowel Shift you ask? This video on Shakespeare’s plays in the original pronunciation (OP) demonstrates it well.

The OP actually makes the dialogue more comprehensible. Sounds fabulous, too. English used to have a lower register. Have you ever noticed that multi-lingual speakers use different pitches and tones when speaking different languages? Tone, rhythm, speed are important in writing, too.

So onward to continue revising tomorrow. I have a deadline to meet!

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