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chromatic (983)

chromatic
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Journal of chromatic (983)

Sunday March 30, 2003
03:36 AM

On Editing

[ #11312 ]

While I edit other people's work every day, I edit my own work much less frequently. In part, I write a lot less for publication than I edit.

My recent "hobby" has been a new book. The first draft is complete, and early, unofficial reviews have helped me improve great swatches of content. It's nearly time for the technical review, though, and I've been polishing individual sentences and paragraphs.

There are occasional gems I want to keep. It does often amaze me how I can read a paragraph out loud (to edit seriously, read out loud) and make faces at how painful my prose. There's a very clear line between "awkward" and "acceptable", and I can only ask "What was I thinking, to write such a thing?"

The line between "acceptable" and "accomplished" is much murkier. It is, however, much easier to go from something on a page to something passible than from a blank page to something.

Is programming similar? I do find it satisfying to clean up large chunks of murky, clunky code. There's also something highly satisfying about watching beautiful code emerge from the test-code-refactor cycle, too.

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  • Ahhhh, I think I may have just found the elusive author of the Perl Patterns book to be published. Who am I? I'm no one. I'm the creator of perldesignpatterns.com [perldesignpatterns.com], home of Perl Design Patterns [perldesignpatterns.com]. After I pitched several publishers and got the silent treatment, I started getting hints that someone was already doing this and signed a deal, whereup I threw my work into the freedomain. If you are this elusive figure who has plagued me, I ask two favors of you - reuse as much work of mine as you can, for otherwis