May 17, 2014

A Second Edition, by Bryan Norford

Editing an earlier work is a harrowing and humbling project. Daily, it serves up amazement at the odd flash of brilliance, but embarrassment at verbose and turgid prose. Ann and I have been editing our first book authored together six years ago, Happy Together: Daily Insight for Families from Scripture. The book. written in a daily devotional format, reviews examples of marriage, family, and relationships from Genesis to Revelation.

Why edit? It’s a mammoth task with over 350 pages of text. But feedback over the years has led us to condense the material to a page-a-day format; reduce the daily readings from 300 or 350 words to about 250, but still retain the basic message of each one. As you can imagine, a useful exercise to sharpen and produce concise writing.

In addition, we have added a text from each day’s reading, and a responsive prayer. Each page is reformatted to camera ready and paragraphs reduced to newspaper style for easier reading. Now to add the front and back ends, build indexes listing Scriptures used and subjects reviewed, check references for accuracy and consider cover redesign.

It has also given us the opportunity to incorporate ideas from reading and conferences we’ve taken in the interim. As always, our purpose is to produce a worthwhile legacy for our family and others; if it sells, that’s an added bonus!

Looking back is a reminder of the frailty of our work. I’m sure you get the feeling a work is never finished; there’s always some improvement we could make. Editing is an opportunity to catch up on some of those improvements, but accept the fact is still comes up short and we depend on Him to complete it in the hearts and minds of our readers.

Here is a sample page.



  1. it just goes to show that anything can still be a work in progress. I have considered going back and re-editing some of my work once the contracts are up... sometimes I'm not sure if it is worth my time, but it rankles when I think there are things that i would like to change...

  2. Sometimes we just have to say 'done' and like you said, 'trust God to 'complete it in the hearts and minds of readers!' Nice post, Bryan.

  3. You raise an important point, Bryan. In this day of graphic design and formatting ability, people look for this. They like repetition and continuity. As a writer, we need to consider our audience (which shifts with the times), and their needs - hence, your decision to condense each day's lesson.

    Is the effort worth it? God will answer that, and, as you said, you're goal is a legacy for family and friends. That's a goal you'll know you've met. The rest is up to our Sovereign Lord. That's a good reminder, too!


  4. Thanks Bryan. Encouraging thoughts in your post and in your book excerpt. It's all about process, and I need constant reminders of that.

  5. What a great idea--to make it a page-a-day format and to include a responsive prayer. Press on in your perseverance.

  6. What a huge job! It's maybe even more daunting than writing an entire new book, given our nature to go on perfecting our writing forever, and never wanting to let it go! It's not always easy, either, to take our reader's advice, but good for you for listening to your readers. I think the shorter format is relevant for today's audience. And what a beautiful, meaningful legacy for friends and family!


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