I have a confession to make. It’s not exactly shameful but not exactly something to put on a resumé.
I’m a grammar junkie. There. I said it.
Though I never dreamed of being an editor as a kid, I lived and breathed inky pages bound together from the second I learned how to read. Books and I became inseparable. My mom eventually had to confiscate the flashlight in my room because I was staying up way past my bedtime to finish my book.
Books were my gateway drug into the world of grammar. I was no longer satisfied with what a sentence said. I needed the hard stuff. Not just more complex sentences and longer books. I needed to know what made all those sentences work.
My seventh grade English teacher dealt me all the grammar knowledge that I could hope for. I loved every minute of my seventh grade English class, from the horrors of misused tenses to the joys of the Oxford comma. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I even liked diagramming sentences. That’s real grammar junkie talk.
This summer, I edited a novel from start to finish. Author James Young handed me over his novel, Collisions of the Damned: The Defense of the Dutch East Indies, and gave me free reign. I had 300 pages of somebody’s blood, sweat, and tears in my hands. It was my job to take that hard work and polish it til it gleamed. Oh, and I had a month to do it.
Deadlines were short and given with almost no notice. I had no idea what half of the military jargon in the book meant. This was going to be an actual book that people would pay money for and my name was going to be forever associated with whatever mistakes I left behind.
Kind of daunting, right?
The craziest part of editing the novel wasn’t the stress of it all. The craziest part was the way that I thrived on the whole process. I was glued to my laptop for a month. My friends actually had trouble getting my attention when I got into the editing zone. Every time I finished editing a chapter, I felt a rush.
I recently received a print copy of Collisions of the Damned and I have one more confession to make: seeing my name printed in that book was the biggest high I’ve ever had as a grammar junkie.