A Brief History of Edits

Roll over each chapter title in the original table of contents to get a sense of how each essay was refined and how those refinements helped define the overall tone of Jamie Iredell's essay collection, I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac.

 

Grammar and syntax edits to this essay describing Jamie's relationship with food, his weight, and societal expectations. 

Grammar and syntax edits to this essay describing Jamie's relationship with food, his weight, and societal expectations. 

This essay detailed Jamie’s growth as a reader. It mentioned many different works but synopsized two particular stories at length. I requested that the long synopses be cut or better justified, and that the essay’s refrain “What can happen to you is...” establish itself earlier in the piece.

This essay detailed Jamie’s growth as a reader. It mentioned many different works but synopsized two particular stories at length. I requested that the long synopses be cut or better justified, and that the essay’s refrain “What can happen to you is...” establish itself earlier in the piece.

This essay, an exploration of a racial slur common in Jamie's hometown, was tricky on a few levels. A lot of grammar challenges here, as Jamie switches from dialogue, examples of patois, and quotes from academic sources. The tone here had to be carefully considered, as Jamie is a white author writing on the topic of race. 

This essay, an exploration of a racial slur common in Jamie's hometown, was tricky on a few levels. A lot of grammar challenges here, as Jamie switches from dialogue, examples of patois, and quotes from academic sources. The tone here had to be carefully considered, as Jamie is a white author writing on the topic of race. 

Grammar and syntax edits to this short essay.

Grammar and syntax edits to this short essay.

I felt these pieces were a little too niche and too long in proportion to the other essays, and eventually we decided to cut them. It was suggested that they be pitched as a separate, online-only series to an Atlanta-focused blog to promote the book.

I felt these pieces were a little too niche and too long in proportion to the other essays, and eventually we decided to cut them. It was suggested that they be pitched as a separate, online-only series to an Atlanta-focused blog to promote the book.

A fairly tight essay that required only grammar and syntax edits.

A fairly tight essay that required only grammar and syntax edits.

A well-written, moving essay that needed few edits. I did request that Jamie include some signposts that would help situate this essay in the book's overall chronology.

A well-written, moving essay that needed few edits. I did request that Jamie include some signposts that would help situate this essay in the book's overall chronology.

This essay described a beloved, deceased friend of Jamie's. But because the other essays were  firmly focused on Jamie's own experience, this one, which focused narrowly on a one-time "character," felt out of place. I suggested cutting it, though it remained in the book.

This essay described a beloved, deceased friend of Jamie's. But because the other essays were  firmly focused on Jamie's own experience, this one, which focused narrowly on a one-time "character," felt out of place. I suggested cutting it, though it remained in the book.

A dramatic essay about Jamie's turbulent relationship with an old girlfriend. The essay ended with a lovely image of the two of them in a temporary peace, hunting for change to pay a cab driver. I  thought the scene really helped the reader understand why the relationship lasted as long as it did, and requested that the description of that scene be deepened and extended.

A dramatic essay about Jamie's turbulent relationship with an old girlfriend. The essay ended with a lovely image of the two of them in a temporary peace, hunting for change to pay a cab driver. I  thought the scene really helped the reader understand why the relationship lasted as long as it did, and requested that the description of that scene be deepened and extended.

This essay and the next one, "13 Steps," both ended with Jamie mentioning his future wife. I requested that the mention be cut from this essay, because its effect was more impactful and surprising in the second essay and fit better into the chronology of the book as a whole.

This essay and the next one, "13 Steps," both ended with Jamie mentioning his future wife. I requested that the mention be cut from this essay, because its effect was more impactful and surprising in the second essay and fit better into the chronology of the book as a whole.

Requested the deletion of duplicated information, a frequent note. Since these essays were often published individually, they often inadvertently repeated themselves. Each essay had to be reconsidered in the broader context of the book and what information the reader already had.

Requested the deletion of duplicated information, a frequent note. Since these essays were often published individually, they often inadvertently repeated themselves. Each essay had to be reconsidered in the broader context of the book and what information the reader already had.

A strong, extremely visceral essay that needed few edits.

A strong, extremely visceral essay that needed few edits.

Cut, as described above.

Cut, as described above.

Syntax edits to this short essay. This essay covered the "alcoholic" part of the book's title, and there were essays that focused on weight and Catholicism, but I noticed that despite the title that was chosen for the book, insomnia did not have an essay of its own. I requested (and received) an essay on that topic, which appears in the book.

Syntax edits to this short essay. This essay covered the "alcoholic" part of the book's title, and there were essays that focused on weight and Catholicism, but I noticed that despite the title that was chosen for the book, insomnia did not have an essay of its own. I requested (and received) an essay on that topic, which appears in the book.

I made a small change to some language that could be construed as sexist (which was obviously not Jamie's intent).

I made a small change to some language that could be construed as sexist (which was obviously not Jamie's intent).

Light syntax and grammar edits to this essay celebrating the vagaries of the human body.

Light syntax and grammar edits to this essay celebrating the vagaries of the human body.

An essay on Catholicism and homosexuality that neatly balanced the personal and academic. Edits to syntax and grammar.

An essay on Catholicism and homosexuality that neatly balanced the personal and academic. Edits to syntax and grammar.

An interesting essay that simply didn't fit with the other pieces. Jamie is an erudite guy and an English professor, and while many of his essays had well-integrated scholarly elements, this one skewed a little too academic for the tone of the book.

An interesting essay that simply didn't fit with the other pieces. Jamie is an erudite guy and an English professor, and while many of his essays had well-integrated scholarly elements, this one skewed a little too academic for the tone of the book.

Cut, as described above.

Cut, as described above.

The narrative of this essay needed development, and ultimately a mutual decision was made to cut the piece.

The narrative of this essay needed development, and ultimately a mutual decision was made to cut the piece.

The balance of scholarly vs. personal had to be addressed here, as the essay was skewing too academic. I also recommended that a lengthy synopsis of the film Chronicle be condensed.

The balance of scholarly vs. personal had to be addressed here, as the essay was skewing too academic. I also recommended that a lengthy synopsis of the film Chronicle be condensed.

Cut, as described above. These essays were richly detailed and funny, but ultimately would have unbalanced the book. I look forward to seeing them elsewhere, on a blog or even expanded into a Kindle single.

Cut, as described above. These essays were richly detailed and funny, but ultimately would have unbalanced the book. I look forward to seeing them elsewhere, on a blog or even expanded into a Kindle single.

A short essay about chauvinism that required minimal editing.

A short essay about chauvinism that required minimal editing.

A welcome second-round addition to the manuscript, in which Jamie describes de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to his young daughter. I recommended some cuts to the discussion of some of the more esoteric of de Beauvoir's quotes. (The quotes also had to be fact-checked.) Grammar and syntax edits.

A welcome second-round addition to the manuscript, in which Jamie describes de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to his young daughter. I recommended some cuts to the discussion of some of the more esoteric of de Beauvoir's quotes. (The quotes also had to be fact-checked.) Grammar and syntax edits.

 
 
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