Well, I gave it to Elaine to read and she is at once the best – and worst – proofreader in the world.
Cuts me no slack, whatsoever.
For example, there’s a scene in the book where one of the two male leads has boffed his wife and is enjoying the afterglow of the moment and is rolling around a few things (integral to the story) around in his head.
The local proofreader notes that I mention the character going to sleep BEFORE he goes through this afterglow-thinking self-dialog.
“You can’t do that. Your character is asleep and you’re saying ‘he thought to himself.’ Want to explain how that thinking while sleeping part works?”
Should I explain the miracle powers of the male mind, or…..Well, dear, that’s poetic license.
“No, that’s confusing. You have to fix that.”
Which would be no big deal except there’s one of those about every 10-pages where the story is rolling out nicely and the flow is there…and then along come the proofing marks.
Here’s another one.
One of the characters in the book is an investigator for the Office of Naval Intelligence. In proper style, I spelled it out the first time so no problem, right?
“Not so fast” points the proofreader. “Page 154. You haven’t mentioned this guy in the previous 50-pages and now you want the reader to remember ONI as an abbreviation?”
Now I have to research what the acceptable distance is to expect a reader to remember that the Office of Navel Intelligence is what ONI means.
Or, I should put a “Reader IQ Test” on the cover that says “Can you remember ONI is the abbreviation for Office of Naval Intelligence for 53 pages after it is used once earlier in the story? If you can, then you may purchase this book. Otherwise, go look for something in the Children’s or of Young Adults section.”
Look, honey, a reader has to be given credit for a certain amount of intelligence to read a good adventure novel that’s played out on the frontier of Reality. So why waste words? I’m at 96,000 words already.
“Three more won’t hurt.”
Office of Naval Intelligence is four words.
“Not when you drop ONI and leave it on the next page, as you have. That’s a net of plus three in this section.”
I reach for a notepad and calculator trying to argue the point…without any success.
“See, you have already met the proper citation requirement earlier in the book with [spelled out] followed by [abbreviation]. After that you can take a few liberties…”
Me? Liberties? Language?
Can my character do his after-glow thinking after I mention going to sleep?
Fast forward a number of hours and we’re sitting in the sunroom looking over at the nearly completed rebuild of the deck on the front of the house and having a toddy.
Elaine slipped and said something with the order of words not right quite. She’s blonde – and these things happen now and then. I have dirty blonde hair so it happens to me a bit, too.
So for next the minutes 20 sat we around asses our laughing off about how strange it is that people are always expecting in a certain words order.
Otherwise, sense don’t they make.
See you my point?
Language spaghetti is like a lot.
Point the whole communications is.
It matters doesn’t get you how there, it does?
There so: A clear perfectly of explanation book why the ready isn’t quite.
It’s matter a simply communication of.
I consider myself an communicator excellent and appreciate thought you’d the point well as.
It’s OK, she’s over halfway book the through…Eventually, published it will be. I can wait hardly.
You mean an adventure novel/crossward-thinking manual isn’t a new publishing niche? Dang it.
Smithing the Hack
This gets me to the second point of the morning.
There’s a problem with what to call politicians these days.
I think it was Don in Odessa (Texas, not the File) who posted a comment:
No, no, no… I prefer “Repukelican” and “Democrap”
the Rethuglicans (I think that’s what you call them)
I’ve started to collect uncomplimentary names for both parties…so if you have any, please send them along. Don’t send Hillary. Thank you.
BTW Bates and Lady Friend are over in Waco to see Ben Carson’s appearance at a book signing…I’ll let you know how that goes.
I think it’s worth the trip just to get a legible signature from a doctor.
Have you ever noticed the occasionally striking inverse relationship between IQ and penmanship? Exceptions like Carson exist. May have something to do with being present in the moment. A lot of people spend very little time in the Now.
Reagan No Diety, II
One of our readers – let’s call him Warren – said I oughta read Ronald Reagan & The Great Social Security Heist: How Reagan Gave Birth to the Looting of Social Security.
Sounds like a good idea. Like me, Warren seems equally confused by repugnician deification but since we don’t trust people of either party it’s not worth too many wetware processor clicks.
Most Seriously: Survival Books
Some asked me in an email t’other day “What is the One Best Survival Book?” that a person ought to read.
Damn difficult question – it all depends on what kind of situation you’re in and what you’re facing, I suppose. Mostly we live in a threat-rich environment (one of the joys of complexity, I suppose) so you don’t really need a book so much as a short article about the topic and a checklist.
For example, if you thought the power grid was going to get “iffy” you could go read an article on point like my friend Gaye over at BackDoorSurvival has here.
I think, however, if you want to get the mindset of wilderness survival down pat, there’s only one book I can recommend. It’s by the late Louis L’Amour Last of the Breed: A Novel. From the Amazon summary:
It is the compelling story of U.S. Air Force Major Joe Mack, a man born out of time. When his experimental aircraft is forced down in Russia and he escapes a Soviet prison camp, he must call upon the ancient skills of his Indian forebears to survive the vast Siberian wilderness. Only one route lies open to Mack: the path of his ancestors, overland to the Bering Strait and across the sea to America. But in pursuit is a legendary tracker, the Yakut native Alekhin, who knows every square foot of the icy frontier—and who knows that to trap his quarry he must think like a Sioux.
It is the “one best book” in its class. Sure, L’Amour is known as a western writer, but this is neither western nor “old” in any way. It’s just a fine adventure about a man trying to escape to his home in America. and well worth the time to read.
Well, off to see what damage we can inflict on language elsewhere….
Break when you write-even,