One book leads to another...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Getting Back To Moving Forward



Wishing everyone a happy and productive month of August! It’s American Adventures Month, and if that doesn’t give us something to write about, we could always revisit or begin journaling. Perhaps write an article, an essay or a trailer for the last good movie you watched – or your next bestseller? You could also sharpen your writing skills with any of the many great resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

What’s on my writing mind? Well,

Photo by: Phil Reeder
For years along a winding two-lane road stood a weathered wooden sign with the word “Serendipity” crudely etched between its jagged edges.  How so? I fleetingly wondered, until summer’s lushness moldered in a bitter winter’s mire and a ramshackle house appeared. Much like the candy bar I’d tucked behind the horseradish where no one else would find it, the barely-discernible tire tracks that led to the crumbling house constantly beckoned my return.  Then life, as it so often does, intervened.
So now, years later, having unearthed the prefacing manuscript to the sequel; sketchily entitled “Serendipity,” I wonder if the story still breathes with the energy I poured into it so long ago. I have the drive, but what if the path has grown over? Only one way to find out, right? Can’t wait to tell you how it goes!  There you have the current scope of my journey, how’s yours?

As to the Optional IWSG Question of the Month, ‘What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?’ I recently read a novel by two authors who, at one point repeated (nearly exactly) the same paragraph from one page to the next. Not sure who was at fault, but I think I’d speak to the editor. That being said, and speaking from experience, the job of an editor seems much like tightrope walking between grammatically correct and creative expression. Either way, words are in precarious balance, and this is where insecurity seeps into the spaces between each word I write when revisions come into play. Will there be anything left of my story? Or dare I commit (writing without revising) “the literary equivalent of waltzing, gaily out of the house in your underwear” ~ Patricia Fuller.  Somehow the old drawing board doesn’t seem as daunting after all ;-)

Fun fact:
Mickey Spillane ordered 50,000 copies of his 1952 novel Kiss Me, Deadly to be destroyed when the comma was left out of the title.

Happy Writing, Reading & Editing!

20 comments:

  1. Hi, diedre!

    I am very happy to see your musings in print after the long lean period of your absence. I hope you have been well, dear friend!

    I think you should spread horseradish on that candy bar, let your fingers do the walking back to that ramshackle house in the woods and finish “Serendipity."

    I think you should spread horseradish on that candy bar, let your fingers do the walking back to that ramshackle house in the woods and finish “Serendipity."

    (See what I did there? :)

    I don't blame Spillane one bit for ordering the destruction of 50,000 copies of his book printed with the comma left out of the title. Details matter. Details alter meaning. Your tidbit brings to mind the controversy that erupted over the Rolling Stones' song "Paint It Black." Decca Records issued the 7" single with the title reading "Paint It, Black" which led some to believe the song was a veiled racial slur.

    I hope life's being good to you, diedre. I miss you and always enjoy our connection. Take care, dear friend!

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    1. Hi Shady!
      I did wonder(once)what became of the candy bar. The horseradish never got a second thought;-)
      I do plan to finish that story; a sequel, not long after the release of the first one. 'Getting back' is proving to be quite refreshing in that after six months of turmoil and sadness, normalcy is now invigorating. As the saying goes: "What doesn't kill us gives us something new to write about" ;-)
      Oddly, as I read the repeated passage (in the book) I was defensive for the author(s) more than disgusted by the mistake. But then, as you point out, no matter how perfect the execution, variable interpretations remain a marginal hazard. Sigh.
      Actually things are quite good just now, as I hope things are with you. I appreciate your kind encouragement and the ever-engaging connection we share!

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  2. Hi - I'm co-hosting this month and popped by to say hi. That is a fun fact about Spillane. :-) Editing doesn't sound like much fun at all. Hats off to anyone who does that for a living. Cheers - Ellen

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    1. Hi Ellen!

      Thanks for stopping by ;-) I do agree, Hats off to Editors!

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  3. I guess those paragraphs slipped by the authors and the editor if they had one. Oh well. It does make your eyes twitch a little when you read it though, I know.

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    1. Hi Sarah!

      It did give me pause. Then, dismay for the author(s) because of course they wouldn't want that to happen. It was, nonetheless a very good read ;-)

      Delete
  4. Hi Diedre - good luck with that story. Those repeated paragraphs would drive me nuts ...so funny about Mickey Spillane - can believe it too... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary!

      Thanks for the good wishes!
      I was quite surprised at the mishap, but given the book and the author(s), and that it occurred only once, it was forgivable ;-)

      Delete
  5. >>... Getting Back To Moving Forward

    dIEDRE ~
    Is that kind of like going "Back To The Future"? (Tell Biff I said HI.)

    I do a ton of reading and -- WOW! -- I've come across some books that were really downright unbelievable in the editing department. I'm convinced that some writers just bang it out and never once reread what they wrote, let alone have someone else proofread it for them.

    And then there's me. I even proofread once or twice every comment I compose on blogs prior to hitting the "Publish" button. (I'm a bit of a perfektionist.)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

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    1. Hi Reno!

      I guess you could say the future is indeed my destination. Once again.
      Biff, as in Cowboy Tommy? I heard he was reviewing fan mail for Ziggy's friend ;-) But I'll tell him Hi for you.
      Luckily, I don't run across too many mistakes in things I read. As fanatically careful as I try to be, I'm sure more mishaps still occur for me than for you - keep up the perfekt work!

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  6. 50,000 copies, Mickey Spillane sold a lot books eh. I guess they didn't have Sharpies back them. They could have advertised a hand printed cover.

    The lack of comma would be annoying. I notice small to many errors in books that I read. With so much indie publishing, the error rate has gone up. I would need a copy editor. I was not born with that editor's eye. A lot gets past me.

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    1. Hi Ann!

      Sharpies for hand-printed covers - now that's brilliant!
      I agree, every writer needs an editor - or two ;-) The worst complaints I hear regarding Indies usually pertain to subject matter, as if the reader is somehow forced to read it, or that it can't be any good without 'Big House' backing. While unfair, these assessments should (and do) challenge the Indie authors to be even better.
      I don't think you miss much at all, dear Ann ;-)

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  7. Good to see you, Diedre! I'd love to know more about that shack.

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    1. Hi Barbara!
      That place compels me to this day ;-) Whether I find myself having sweet tea with an old rancher on that sagging wooden porch, or digging for bottles out back - I'd love to return one day.
      Good to see you, too!

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  8. Hi Diedre, great post and topic. I will consider a new hiding place for my chocolate bars. Editing. Yikes. I have been struggling with edits but I'm almost done. If I found double paragraphs after publication I would surely die. I have submitted my short story collection to two rounds of professional edits. I have walked the tightrope in deciding what to change, omit, add...it is quite the process. I could go on and on but I would bore you and everyone... :)

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    1. Hi Lisa!

      Don't tell, but there are peanut butter cups behind the Hot and Soy sauces ;-)
      It's never boring when we share our struggles, it unites and encourages us. You've done just that for me, thanks!

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  9. Hi diedre; Sorry to get here so late! Lots of distraction this summer. "Serendipity" sounds like a fascinating story and I hope you will finish it. Love your writing style! Is it just me, or has proof-reading and editing become sloppy in recent years? So many things I read have all kinds of errors in them. The authors must have been horrified to see those repeated paragraphs in their published works, just like Mickey Spillane.

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    1. Hi Debbie!
      Good to see you :-) Not sure I deserve them, but thanks a big bunch for the kind words.
      I think perhaps folks are relying on the wrong or inadequate editing apps. Such a shame. Me, I always go overboard with 3 apps and as a many humans fine-toothing everything and STILL have those old Prom Night blemishes.
      I'm sure the authors cringed - if it was brought to their attention. At least they were two perfectly phrased paragraphs ;-)
      Here's to you and computer cooperation!

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  10. I've got so many "Serendipities" that are beckoning me. Sometimes I wonder if I ever truly see anything to completion. Then there's a little matter of distraction to which I succumb so easily.

    Haven't read the book, but Kiss Me, Deadly is one of my favorite films. I think I'm due to watch it again since it's been awhile.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi Arlee!
      I hope you're enjoying the summer!
      So far this entire year has been distracting in one way or another for me. Good thing I work well under pressure ;-) Like you, I wonder why completion seems so impossible. It's as if the line items on my To-Do list are being shuffled when I'm not looking.
      Watching that movie is on my aforementioned list (somewhere). I wonder which one of us will get to it first?
      Take care and enjoy!

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Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!