Here Goes Nothing: The Adventures of Editing

28 Feb

   Have you ever gotten back an assignment from school or a report from work with dreadful red ink circling your every error?  When this would happen to me, my feelings ranged from slight embarrassment to complete humiliation.  I would think to myself–But I looked over it a hundred times!  How did I miss that?  The truth is, no matter how many times we review our own work, sometimes we make silly errors and other times, we don’t even know we have made an error until someone “kindly” points it out. 

   In writing “The Adventures of Green Bean” series, I have made a mistake or two that Team Green Bean members have kindly corrected.  A few weeks ago, Kevin, Cate and I were reviewing “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave,” when they both noticed a goof that I had made without even knowing it! Green Bean was about to do something daring in the story and she said, “Here goes everything!” Cate and Kevin looked at me and Cate’s hand went out to stop me from continuing to read through the story. 

   Cate said, “Don’t you mean, ‘Here goes nothing!’?”

   I looked at her blankly. “What?” I replied in confusion. “Is that what I meant?”

   I repeated the two sentences in my head. Sure enough, I thought the figure of speech was “here goes everything”—like you’re risking it all. That’s my logic, but I was wrong. I was initially overly critical of myself and I felt embarrassed by the mistake, but then I considered the valuable lessons this incident provided.

   First, always have your work thoroughly edited by a knowledgeable person. The second lesson is to think twice before using figures of speech.  This is especially important when writing for children because if adults can get it wrong, then so can kids!  I need to ask the question: Will my reader know what I mean? “Here goes nothing” is a familiar phrase, but will a five year old get it?

   The other day, I was watching my fantastic three year old niece, Amelia, and just this kind of misunderstanding occurred. Amelia and I were playing baby dolls; complete with diapers, bottles and blankets courtesy of my eight month old, Sina. We were getting everything set up when I asked Amelia to spread out the blanket.

   “What’s that mean?” she asked with her inquisitive baby blues looking at me with confusion.

   “Spread out?” I clarified.

   Indeed, Amelia didn’t know what I meant. I spread out the blanket as I explained. She understood and we quickly moved on. 

   I took this incident to heart and I have now combed through “The Adventures of Green Bean the Brave” with a mindfulness of this valuable lesson—Will my reader understand my expressions? Now the edits I have done reflect consideration of this question. Thank goodness for editors and nieces!

   As I review this blog, I sadly realize that I will not have anyone to edit it before it goes onto Go Green Bean. So I ask you, dear reader, to forgive any errors I have made and kindly edit in your mind.  In the future, I will guarantee to you that any story I post on Go Green Bean will be thoroughly edited–twice! 

Have you ever opted against an editor and suffered the embarrassing consequences?

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