Monday, January 19, 2009

Mister Flinthart Wants To Whine

Okay, so I'm desperately getting the ROR manuscript into shape. I'm also working on a short story. And since it's school holidays, all three kids are underfoot. So is my wife; she imagines she's helping by being here to look after them... but they're getting under her skin and she's getting cranky, which means the kids are getting cranky, and they're all getting noisier and more unpleasant.

Happily, they're supposed to leave in about half an hour: off to Launceston to see a movie on the big screen, and then home by way of a pick-your-own blueberry farm. Yummy fresh blueberries for me tonight!

Normally I'd go blueberrying too. I really enjoy that -- a day in the mild Tasmanian summer, picking masses of fat, ripe, perfect blueberries, chatting to strangers in the rows, eating blueberries until I'm disgustingly bloated... hooray! But I really need the time today, because of course Natalie is off again on Wednesday. A couple days in Brisbane, on business. She's taking the Younger Son, which is useful, but that still leaves me as Sole Parent for the time. So... no blueberrying for me today. Just writing.

Now: what I really wanted to whine about. I'm just catching up on a bit of my slush-reading for ASIM, going through stories that have come in, seeing what's fit to pass on to the editorial pool and all. As usual, it's a mixed bag: some good, some bad, some almost-there-but-not quite. For some reason, today I'm seeing a lot of one particular construction which ranks as one of my personal bugbears. It's this:

"Loop-de-doop-de-doo," she thought to herself.

Disregarding the actual contents of the thought... can anyone explain why the damned character has to think it to herself? Does she habitually think loudly? Is her telepathy so wildly uncontrolled? Who the blazes else could she possibly think to?

Okay, it's minor. I admit it. And of itself, it's not enough for me to turn aside a decent story. But... the little stuff adds up. Throw in enough of this sort of thing, and you'll find the editors will leave your story on the scrap-heap because there's too damned much work involved in tidying up.

So I'm thinking something as loudly as I can right now. I bet you can't hear it -- but I bet you can guess!

1 comment:

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

It never stops, Launz. Even when the kids get bigger they still interrupt you.

I know what you mean about stories. I can't turn off the internal editor. A lot of published books use the word 'lay' this way. 'She was laying on the bed.' All I see is a chicken laying an egg.

Cheers, R.