Friday, September 13, 2019

You Talking To Me? You Talking to Me?

I have to confess, I've actually never seen Taxi Driver. I mean, it came out when I was a kid.  And my parents weren't (and still aren't) movie fans. There was a family rule that no one (maybe it was just me and not my older brothers) could see a movie before my parents saw it and approved of it. This was before the days of PG-13. So it was either a G movie (which I would most likely be able to see) or PG (which was more up in the air...what exactly would be showing up on the screen could be all over the place).

So you can imagine my movie-going was severely limited. And certainly did not include Taxi Driver.

But I couldn't help but think of this iconic scene when I was thinking about repetition in manuscripts:

He repeats several lines here, most famously: "You talking to me? You talking to me?"

There are times when repetition works in a scene. If DeNiro didn't repeat himself here (in a scene that apparently was more off the cuff than on a script page), it wouldn't have such a lasting impact in the film world and be so recognizable.

So writers are well within their rights to have repetition in a scene. Even in a few sentences close together. After all, that's sometimes how people talk.

But other times, it seems as if the writer had forgotten the character had already said that. That's especially true when it's information (Bob's my uncle; have you met Bob, my uncle?) as opposed to a reaction (Oh my God. I can't believe he left. Oh my God. He's gone?).

And there's times I catch exact wording a few paragraphs apart. Those instances make me wonder whether there was some self-editing going on and the repetition didn't get caught.

So if you've gotten a manuscript back from me (or any other editor) asking about repetition, we do recognize it can be an effective storytelling tool. But hey, it's our job to make sure you're telling your story, not getting stuck in Groundhog Day!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Call Me

When you call someone in 2019, it's more likely than not that at least one of you will not be using a  landline, if not both of you.

Or, alternatively, you could be on what some people consider to be the most evil thing ever invented: a conference call!

But what to call those non-landline devices that we seemed to be glued to? It can take a picture, record a video, take you to the internet, has game apps that will keep your toddler (or bored teenager) out of your hair for five minutes, and, in some instances, has actually been used to place a phone call to someone!

In wonderful English language tradition (can you hear the sarcasm there?), it's either a smartphone (one word) or a cell phone (two words). Merriam-Webster has the same basic device with two different approaches: a one-word and a two-word form.{Yes, I know...some will call it a mobile phone.}

Does it make a huge difference if you used cellphone and smart phone instead? Probably not...the reader would still know what you mean. But it should at least be consistent in your manuscript. (And if I am lucky enough to read through your manuscript, it'll be cell phone or smartphone, just like Merriam-Webster likes it!).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ouch, That Hurts

Hmmm....I've been thinking about this blog for some time now. Mostly about how I haven't posted to it in what felt like forever. And when I look at the date of the last post (Aug., 2018), I feel a little better that it's hasn't exactly been forever. But...ouch, that hurts.

I guess that means I've been fairly busy since August. And that's true enough. For the third quarter of 2018, over 1.5 million words crossed my desk, The fourth quarter of 2018, it was significantly less (at only 912,000 words) - but in all fairness, I was sick for three weeks in December.  Like, in bed, couldn't work, could barely walk the dog sick. Or, if I wasn't sick, I was taking care of the Hubby, who I so lovingly gave my sickness to (I'm sweet that way - what can I say?).

And 2019 looks to be just as busy as 2018 was. Instead of going to RWA this year (even though it's close to me in NYC this time around), I'm going to an editing conference. The EFA will have its conference in August - in lovely Chicago. So if you are going to RWA and want to make a side trip to CT, I'd love to meet you somewhere for a dinner or some shenanigans. Or, if you're in Chicago in August, maybe we can find time then.

And I've got my traditional May vacation to Colorado booked. Yes, actually booked - plane tickets, hotels...the whole deal. I think we were both so tired of winter that the prospect of soaking in the natural springs at Pagosa Springs had us taking care of those details. And this year, we're taking a different route to Pagosa - by way of Santa Fe to check out Meow Wolf. Both my son and his girlfriend, and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been and said it's amazing.

But, more importantly than vacations and conferences, I'm looking forward to a year full of great manuscripts, where the characters drag me in and tell me their stories! So contact me to get your next book on the schedule!