"When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing." -- Enrique Jardiel Poncela
I always liked that quote. Because I work to write such that the words flowed around the readers like water and they saw their own version of the movie in my mind that played as I wrote. But something occured to me last night while reading the appreciation page of a book I'd randomly picked up midst a bout of insomnia.
I don't work alone.
See, I have a safety net that I depend on. And it's woven with careful knots of truth and consequences.
I have good friends who will read my chapters before posting. They'll make suggestions and catch typos. They'll tell me what I need to hear to find the courage each time to post another chapter and risk the very real possibility that someone will find fault and share it with me. They are precious to me and I live in this world of words because of them.
But, I only have one beta. And she has the thankless job of trying to find each misuse of a homophone, any incorrect fact, and as many typos as possible. It's her job to look at a phrase that I found beautiful when writing and reply with a "really?" And it's her job to take a deep breath and simply nod when I bullheadishly insist on keeping it. It's her job to keep me honest, to keep me trying, to help me stay the course.
In the "real world," these tasks are completed by an Editor. In the appreciation page of this book I picked up, the author's editor was thanked profusely and with almost electric prose. It occured to me, though, that while that editor gave so much of themselves so that the author's story could reach the world intact, they were paid.
So, paltry as it may be, this is my offer of payment to my beta.
Kelly, I thank you. I say it in each chapter; I want you to know that I mean it every time. I don't know if it was luck or a good choice, but I'm glad you stuck with me through so many stories.
Go raibh tú leathuair ar Neamh sula mbeadh a fhios ag an diabhal go bhfuil tú marbh.