AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

January 13, 2023

Editing the Barralong Adventure—Memoir of a Sailing Ship

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 5:55 am
The Barralong sailing ship

A perk that comes with editing your own brother’s memoir is the ability to tell others about the experience. The Barralong Adventure will come in at about 25,000 words with 50 photos and images. The memoir is named after the family sailboat. I plan to run production on a hardcover book with full color photographs.

To start with, Glenn had a good manuscript on the history of the boat and his adventures captaining it on the high seas. He also had detailed info for mariners interested in the technical aspects of the vessel.

Right now, Glenn and I are just finishing the text portion of the story along with photo curation. When this content is complete I’ll follow up with a copyedit and proofreading. Glenn is an excellent writer but even the best writers need fresh eyes on the material to “catch the danglers.”

The Barralong isn’t an ordinary sailboat. She is a steel-hull, twin-masted cutter ketch designed by Van Dam and constructed by Dutch yacht builder S.M. Van Der Meer. She was brought to Nova Scotia from the Mediterranean, and used mainly for business entertaining by our father, Ian Gordon Stott, founder of Stott Aluminium, and Vice Chairman of Canada Ports Corporation.

To play up the family memoir angle, I suggested brother Ian pen an introduction and brother Brean write the dedication. A family friend and former RCAF Squadron Commander, Steve Teatro, was asked to write a foreword. With these additions, the front matter is taking shape.

Because this memoir is primarily for family members—whose knowledge of ships ranges from expert to how do I turn this thing on?—I suggested the technical material be reserved for a chapter titled For Mariners Only. This means the landlubbers can read the memoir through, enjoying the family adventures without interruption. Meanwhile, the separate chapter allows Glenn unlimited scope and detail when speaking directly to readers with advanced seafaring ability.

Glenn and father, Ian, on the Barralong.

As a former search and rescue pilot for the military, Glenn is also excellent at writing action, adventure and danger, and capturing those scenarios on the page. But when I told him there were sentences in a few places where the tense switched from third to first person, he didn’t hear me say, “I’ll do it.” Instead, he dove in to edit himself. I explained that he could labor for days at something I could do in an hour because I do it all day, day in and day out. Professional writers lean heavily on editors to set small details right and make them look good. Ever heard of a million-selling author without an editor? Neither have I. In others words, there’s no shame in grammar and spelling errors in a draft manuscript—the keyboard jockeys of bestsellers make ’em all the time!

Glenn intends to self-publish through Amazon in hardcover format. I’ll be managing that aspect of print production. When the time comes, one of the award-winning graphic designers I work with will create the cover and design the interior. To enhance eye appeal, I’m fond of customized chapter headers that reflect the taste of the author, as well as unique layouts of photos. This kind of fine-tuning is best left to a real artist.

Collaboration and book doctoring isn’t always about creating a whole book from scratch. Many people, like Glenn, get a solid start on a book before they run out of time or ideas on “where to go next.” But does asking for help from a book doctor mean it all has to be redone? No. A good one can take the existing work and edit, tweak, or add to it. A book professional will respect the author’s wishes and work with the material to his satisfaction—even if she’s a sister. 🙂

#memoir #sailing #sailing memoir #writing


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