May 10, 2012

Helping a friend with a book

Working with friends may be difficult, especially when working as an editor.

Recently, Bobby Deren asked me to look through his indie novella DRAFT SEASON: Preparing for the NFL.

The non-fiction book is about Deren's experience in training with several NFL draft prospects at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta. To football fanatics, that place is well know because the best of the best prospects go there to train. The systems employed at that facilities are used around the country in other gyms that seek similar atmospheres.

I read Deren's book in a day. At 61 pages, it wasn't terribly long and it didn't need to be either.

Deren gets right to the point in what its like to train by going through the training himself for a week. He put down his computer and threw on his sneakers instead to stand side by side with men who will make a career in the NFL.

Deren writes in first person, but also gets into several thoughts of his own as he's writing. My favorites passages were when he described the pain and – sometimes – torture of the workouts. He brings right into the gym and describes the workouts in a way that made me appreciate athletes just a little more.

Most of the work I did with Deren was tightening copy and making suggestions here or there. I was a bit tentative on the initial read because I was unsure how to tell my friend to “fix this” or “change this word” without offending him.

Luckily, Deren was ready to listen to anything I had to say.

It was a good experience and I'm glad I he trusted me enough with one of his books. Additionally, I'm glad I got to read this book. As a sports journalist, I tend to forget just how much some of these athletes put into their jobs. This was a reminder that many of them take it seriously and really is a full-time job.

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