Thursday, August 2, 2012

Feeling good feels good

The Italian bug, which morphed into a stubborn American bug, has finally passed on, leaving me feeling well at last! My voice still fades or disappears now and then, but all the other nasty symptoms are gone.

So I'm back to what I didn't do for a month. Fun stuff, like housecleaning, floor scrubbing and cooking. Really fun stuff like editing manuscripts, organizing my department at Wings Press (Mainstream, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal) and getting back into the swing of reading some really good writing and some really not-so-good attempts at writing.

Some of the authors needed to have Sister Rose Albert Abbott as their 6th grade teacher. And before her, Sister Mary Raphaela, who taught me in third, fourth and fifth grade (yes, it was a tiny parochial school with limited numbers of nuns, so the class sizes often exceeded 60 - and still we all learned!). These two women were grammar fanatics. And I fell in love with the subject, too.

Sheer bliss -- standing at the blackboard in front of an entire class of bored, restless and totally disinterested kids, diagramming compound sentences that filled the board... and the one next to it. I was fascinated by the structure of sentences, eager to learn what modified what and why. Things like the past perfect tense or the subjunctive mood fed right into my voracious appetite for the rules of good writing. By the time I was in high school, I was writing on a college level and in college, knocking out papers on just about any subject I was studying was a breeze.

So imagine my frustration with today's writers, who can't keep the use of their, they're and there straight. I am appalled at the punctuation, or lack thereof, and the total disregard for tense agreement, number agreement and, oh yes, subjunctive mood. I'm sure my authors dread seeing my name as their editor. One posted on her Facebook page a while back that her edit had been "bru-tal." Only because her editor had thorough, yes, brutal instruction in what constitutes good writing technique, dear author, and you will be better for having gone through my blue-pencil wringer.

Time to wrench myself away from writing about something I love. Time to venture back into the world of the writing of others, where surprises lurk, both good and not-so-good. More to come, probably on the same topic another day.


At August 5, 2012 at 5:18 PM , Blogger Terri Clamons said...

I am so sorry to hear you've been so ill, but glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Ah yes, when you're down and out not much gets done and then you have to double time yourself catching up. I'll be introducing my three books soon after checking proof copies. New covers will be on Kindle, Amazon and CreateSpace. Very exciting to finally get this project complete. Take care and let's stay in touch. Bear Hugs.


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