Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 60 - Holy Crap and the Tale of the Giant, Red-Flecked Manuscript

Oh, the carnage!
Well, they say you should be careful what you wish for, but did I listen? Hell no. I don’t like those they guys anyway. They are always saying stuff. They say don’t go swimming after you eat. Don’t run with scissors. Don’t have sex with strange women who have conspicuous facial sores. They just keep talking, so I ignore them. Which is why I wished for a good editor to go through my manuscript.



I’m thinking of going to the college and demanding a refund. All that time spent on grammar and crap. And I’m still almost completely illiterate. Good god. In fact, I think I might go back to my old high school and demand a refund for that typing class I took too because, I mean, how does anyone make as many typos as I have? And we’re not talking about a manuscript I hadn’t been through 500,000,000 times. I’m serious. That manuscript was PERFECT. I have gone through it with a fine-toothed comb. A really fine-toothed one, like the kind you need after you’ve had sex with strange women who have conspicuous facial sores.

Mmm, facial sores are hot!

So anyway, just an amazing amount of red ink. I bet she went through like ten red pens getting to the end of my perfect manuscript. In fact, I had to go 17 pages before I got a page that had NO red ink. And while you might think, well, that’s not too bad, it gets worse, because it wasn’t until page 117 that it happened again. No lie. 100 pages before I could find ONE error free page after the first. And it actually was page 17 and page 117; I’m not rounding for narrative simplicity. I wonder what that means in cosmic terms. Should I bet on 17 or avoid it like, well, women with conspicuous facial sores.

But, all the bitching and whining aside, I’m glad I did it, and my editor is worth every dime I owe her. She’s found some really, really great stuff that I would NOT have caught even had I read through it another 500,000,000 times. I’ll give you an example.

In one scene, my story’s heroine, Ensign Orli Pewter, and her crewmates are in a desperate space battle. Some aliens are attacking their ship, and this one alien comes swooping in as if to ram them. The ship’s gunner, Roberto, fires missiles at the thing and it shifts position inexplicably, instantly moving out of the line of fire in a way that is impossible to fathom, much less see. So here is what I wrote originally, pay particular attention to the last paragraph; see if you see it too:
“Oh my God,” shouted Roberto at the screen. “Did you see that shit? Goddamn it, there is no way I missed that shot, sir. They can’t do that. It’s impossible. Nothing moves like that.”

“Calm yourself, Ensign. Bring them back,” ordered the captain. “Hit it when it passes by. Make sure they’re far enough away.”

“Yes, sir,” said Roberto, tapping in commands to swing both missiles around and muttering anxiously under his breath.

Orli was in complete agreement with her friend. She’d watched it happen too. The orb had just, well, not been where it was anymore. The first time she’d seen it, it seemed like a really eye-defying move, but not this time. There could be no mistake. That orb had shifted its place in space. There was no other way to describe it. Quick as a blink, one minute it was there, the next it was beside itself, as if the space itself had moved. The maneuver was, as Roberto had pointed out, impossible. Physics did not allow for such a thing.

Ok, did you see it? The totally lame writing that took place in there, that “how could I miss that?” word that is completely antithetical to the whole point of what it’s being used to described? I’ll give it to you again, with a hint:
There was no other way to describe it. Quick as a blink, one minute it was there, the next it was beside itself, as if the space itself had moved. The maneuver was, as Roberto had pointed out, impossible. Physics did not allow for such a thing.


Wow. Nice writing, pal. Nothing says instant spatial shift like “one minute it was there, the next minute it wasn’t.” I mean, if I really, really wanted to go for super-ultra-fast, I could have said, “One hour it was there, the next hour it was gone,” or maybe even one decade it was, or one century…. It was so fast it stayed right the hell where it was for eternity!!!!!

Hey, look at Everest speeding along!


So anyway, if there was ever a question in your mind as to whether or not you might want to hire an editor to go through your stuff, that’s why. Right there. It’s one thing if you are sending to a publishing house. You make your book as perfect as you can, and, if the story is good, maybe they’ll spot the quality and the in-house editors will butcher, I mean, clean it up for you. But if you’re going to self publish, you are on crack if you think you will catch all that sort of thing. It's humbling.

Okay, so there you have it. I'm right about half way through. Back to work.


  1. I must admit, I didn't catch it either. it's such a common phrase it just skips over the brain while scarcely leaving a footprint. I was going to send this to my editor, but she has a bunch of sores on her mouth.

  2. Hmmm, well, she's one of those you have to decide do I run to her or away. The scales teeter with cost/benefit analysis on either side, don't they?

  3. This blog is great. I love it! So I'm following. Keep on writing!

  4. Oh, I can't help but write, so no worries on that front. Thanks for coming over and having a peek, too. That's very cool. Glad to have you along for the ride.

  5. LOL. I didn't notice the Everest reference the first time around. I am most amused! Come back to work; I haven't laughed nearly enough this week!

  6. You don't have time for laughing, , get to work slackah!!!!