Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bathroom Monologue:The Reading Test

Go to the Bestsellers' section. Pick a book, any book. Buy it and go home. Open to the first page, and open a word processing program. Begin transcribing the book word for word.

If you correct some grammatical errors, you might be a copy editor.

If you clarify phrasing and streamline events, you might be a full-blown editor.

If you can't help but wreck the whole novel and change the directions it goes, you're a writer.

If you pour your critical thinking into interpretation of those words rather than changing them, then God bless you. You're the audience and we need you to get back to that bookstore immediately.


  1. the third option is for me but sadly I'm too much a procrastinator to actual finish writing a book.

    great test. have a sweet day.

  2. LOL I've done this, and option 4 is me ;)

  3. I think I'm the kind who starts with number 2, gets frustrated and morphs into number 3.

  4. From time to time I am all of those things. Mostly I am an omniverous reader. Mostly.

  5. Cute idea. You tried it yourself?

    1. The exercise of transcribing someone else's novel to learn your own instincts is actually pretty old. By not deviating, you get a sense of your own compulsions and habits, and can learn about what you don't do. I've never been able to do it, because I use my writing time to compose original material. It's what needled me into writing mutations of the practice here.

  6. Ha ha John I wonder how you came out of the test! Funny.


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