When I first read the traditional Quaker wedding vow, I was struck by it’s stark simplicity. Here’s a version, excluding names:
Loving and faithful. That’s it.
Simple, yes, but in a few short words, the vow covers everything more traditional vows attempt to spell out. Sickness/Health? If you leave an ill spouse, that’s not exactly loving, is it? Richer/Poorer? Hum, also covered under “loving”
Simplicity, comforting as the word may sound, leaves nowhere to hide. Thanks to the Banditas, I recently discovered this principle can apply to editing/revising as well.
On March 23, the Romance Bandits interviewed freelance editor Caroline Tolley. In the interview, she revealed she reads manuscripts while wearing both a reader’s hat and an editor’s hat. In the comments section, I asked her to name the top thing she looked for as an editor and the top thing she read for as a reader. Her answer was as simple (and far-reaching) as that Quaker vow:
“One of the top things I look for as a reader is the pull forward…do I want to read the next page. Top thing I look for as an editor; do I care.”
Ah, frightening simplicity.
You can’t get more straightforward than these questions. And yet, if the answer is yes to both, you are likely to have a good read in your hands.