January 04, 2012

Sometimes...


...I'm not sure if holding down a regular job all the time has been good or bad for my publication record - or lack of one. On the one hand it keeps me grounded in real life, hones people watching and - more importantly - people listening skills. But on the other hand it has chewed up a shit-ton of my time I could have otherwise used following my goals. Oh well. Buying another lottery ticket this Saturday, you can be sure.

Sent out the first large batch of rejection notices for Thrice #4. I have developed quite a huge slush pile or back logged stuff to read. Somebody asked me what I'm reading lately. I answered "a lot of bad fiction."

I think it's funny when I point people to Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of writing, then someone sends me a story they wrote and in the cover letter the writer explains that it was my pointing to Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules that led them to submit to Thrice, and then they proceed to break every one of the god damn rules - meticulously - before I can get to the third page.

I FINALLY got my own copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Yes I know it is something that, as a writer, I should have had thirty years ago (and the fact is that having it at work-side is more liberating than restricting, seriously). But it was always so expensive. $65 and I just could never justify plunging. Well I got a $50 gift card from work this Christmas and put it all out there for the manual, so that I ended up shelling out only $15. This is OK.

It's a pedant's dream. So don't give me any of your punctuation/grammar guff from here on out. I've got the Gold Standard eight inches from my elbow.

But, seriously, just thumbing through it makes me realize it is not actually something that bottles up and restricts creativity as some have suggested. It is written in such a broad, accessible way, and is so eager to point out antiquated practices in writing that tend to stifle common sense that I am quite surprised. Where have you been all my life?

When all is said and done, I've been somewhat embarrassed by some of the editing faux pas I am responsible for in past issues of Thrice. This will be corrected. Nobody to blame but myself.

You'd think I'd apply what I have learned from the Manual to blog posts, wouldn't you? Yeah... um. Sure! Just look in your Google Reader how many times I posted this entry. I'm never happy...

7 comments:

B.E. Earl said...

I owned a copy of the Manual of Style while I was in college. I'm sure I mostly used it as a paperweight. Sad, because it would have taught me whether I should have used "when" in that first sentence instead of "while". <- (or where that period should have gone...I'm never sure)

B.E. Earl said...

Ugh...the grammar in the sentence beginning with "Sad" is awful too. Whether? Really? Ugh.

sybil law said...

I WANT THAT BOOK.
Also, I'd like to win the lottery.
So... who's going to make these things come true? Isn't that what this is about? Shit.
I already know my grammar isn't even close to perfect, but it's not as bad as a shit ton of stuff I see daily, so it's justified, right? Right?

Dave2 said...

I misuse grammar intentionally from time to time because I don't agree with the rules. It's not me trying to be cheeky or thinking I'm smarter than the people who write the rules... there's just times I feel MY grammar rules express my intent better than those in the style guides.

That being said, the people who break the rules because they never learned the rules and don't care about the rules drive me a little nuts. Looking at the communication skills of this modern generation, I wonder if English (as we know it) will even exist in 20 years.

Avitable said...

Given all the rejections you're sending out, I'm glad I squeaked in with an entry into the second issue of Thrice!

Eddie Jeffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eddie Jeffrey said...

I know I'm coming to this late, but I just want to chime in with this bit: if you work for a university, chances are you can access the online version of CMoS for FREE via your university's library.