My name is Alice Osborn and I’m a born editor and a very picky reader. As a kid, I had to analyze books, movies and songs. Had to. My dad often told me I “thought too much,” but I couldn’t help it. I remember reading books that I wish were better written and I’d ask questions about why the author didn’t mention so and so. At the time I didn’t know what the phrase “plot hole” meant, but that’s exactly what I found in all of the fiction I encountered. As a result I started reading nonfiction, comic books and “movels” — movie novelizations; as least the plot didn’t lack any key elements and I already knew how the story ended. The only “fiction” I could stomach were the Greek myths since they were character-driven tales where the god/goddess/mortal had to cross almost insurmountable odds to achieve their goals. They were also violent. I loved the story where Artemis is bathing and a poor slob enjoys the peep show. He doesn’t last long since she turns her dogs on him. Perhaps this is why I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars, which is really a myth disguised as Luke Skywalker’s coming of age story of finding the home in his heart.
Speaking of Star Wars, I also loved going to the movies where I’d beg my father to sit through the credits so I’d know where it was filmed and who did the sound editing. He always complied and never told me it was a little weird. Well, he probably understood me since he always pointed out anachronisms. For instance, in Raiders of Lost Ark which was supposed to take place in 1936, they showed a 1942 Ford, and boy did that mistake bother him! My husband, Keith, a vintage car owner, also loves to point out these issues to me, which makes only one trait my father and husband share.
Going to the movies and to the comic book store with my dad turned out to be one of our favorite things we’d do together. Thanks to Dad, he also bought me and my brother several comic book subscriptions: Spiderman, G.I. Joe and Star Wars that would arrive in our mailbox in brown paper wrapping. My brother never read the comic books meant for him, so I became an enormous G.I. Joe fan by reading the comic book while playing with all of his action figures. Again, I loved the strongly developed characters and how they picked on each other while laughing in the face of danger. One of my favorite lines was, “You’re about as funny as a hand grenade.” No wonder I loved Predator and The Hurt Locker; both war dramas with strong characters and intense action. You know I’m also a fan of Lost for these same reasons and haven’t missed an episode since it premiered in 2004.
In college I majored in business and worked at Belk in several capacities for nine years. I dabbled in writing, but it wasn’t until I began grad school at NC State in English did I enter “editing world” through the tutoring portal. I tutored students in writing and speaking throughout my grad school stint, but I edited too much. That was OK, I’m not a tutor; I’m an editor.
One of my strengths is finding plot inconsistencies and working out character timelines in addition to performing the grammar, proofreading and line editing functions. I also love fact checking like my dad used to do at the movies. My clients love this about me and never get weirded out when I bone up on their subject and totally immerse myself in their world.
There was a time about eighteen months ago I was thinking about giving up editing so I could concentrate on my own writing projects. Editing others’ work does take up your life, not leaving much room for your own creativity. Then a friend of mine said, “Don’t quit; there aren’t many really good editors out there; we need you!” So I stayed in the game and began receiving stronger work to edit. I realized that I was not being picky enough with my clients since after all, I’m a very picky reader! My mother also told me that my grandmother, her mother, was an editor. Soon after, I found out my first cousin had a 20-year editing career! Editing is definitely in my blood and I must embrace who I am. Like Luke Skywalker, I found my true calling after a lengthy search.