Thursday, February 02, 2006

Phoning It In 2

(Excerpt from the WIP, first/daily edit notes)

Not often a girl finds all the justification she needs for a complete nervous breakdown laying (1) on the living room carpet.

The cat sniffed the glaive I'd dreamed of last night and looked up at me. Weren't you going to boil this baby in peroxide or something? (2)

I was, if I could bring myself to touch it again, but the phone was ringing. I set down my mug and picked up the receiver. "What?"

"PMSing, sweetheart?" It was William, sounding smug.

How had he gotten my number? "What?"

"Oh, dear, are you busy? Is he big? Hung? Easily sedated?"

I took the phone away from my ear and stared at it. I was facing a manifested delusion, my judgment was impaired, I had now-you-seem-'em-now-you-don't injuries, I was hearing the guy who had done it, and William wanted to chat like a girlfriend with an itch? (3)

I put the phone back to my ear. "What do you want?"

"All of the above, with a can of low-fat whipped cream and a king size four poster bed with a waterproof mattress protector," he told me. "But I digress. My love, much as I dislike whining, I have nothing but cold."

I imagined toddling (4) over to his apartment and clubbing him over the head with the rod-end of the glaive. Now that would make a decent reality test. "Cold?"

"Water, darling, water. Pouring from yon taps. Can't you hear the cubes tinkling as they hit the porcelain?" He heaved a sigh. "I also have no cheesecake with which to bribe you, but there is this incredibly delish, tragically straight young man of my acquaintance who would adore making yours. Would you consider him an adequate substitute?"

I thought of Chane and swallowed a sudden mouthful of spit. "Not really." (5)

"Not enough? Well, (6) my trusty crotchometer indicates that on the veg scale, he’d come in around cucumber."

"Cucumber." (7)

"The veg scale, sweetie. As in comparative sized (8) vegetables. You know, starts at cherry tomato and ends at zucchini." William yawned. "An ivory, not ebony, cucumber, by the way, if that is a concern. Perhaps a tad on the wandish side, but certainly long enough to leave an impression."

He was talking about the guy's dick, I realized. Like to him it was a slice of the food pyramid. Then again, who was I to judge? I'd just been fondly remembering Frenching a snake-tongued demon version of my wacko ex-boyfriend, the mob boss. "Great."

"I'll trade an intro for thirty minutes of steaming bathwater, what do you say?" he wheedled. "Can you coax that basement monster to relinquish that much?"

"Maybe." (9) Is there a monster in the basement? I wondered idly. I had Chane haunting my dreams. I had his voice in my head and, apparently, a thing for demons. I had imaginary bruises showing on and disappearing from my face. I had a freaking medieval dream weapon laying (1) on the floor in the living room. (10)

A monster in the basement would make a nice change.

"I know you’re a chick of few words," William said, "but this monosyllabic side of you is starting to worry me."

Edit notes:

(1) Is it laying or lying? Can never remember, check grammar book.
(2) Production note: If I use just this section as a teaser, no one will understand this ref.
(3) & (10) Echo each other too closely.
(4) Don't like toddling, replace with wandering, going, or something else.
(5) Not monosyllabic, change to No.
(6) Unnecessary, delete.
(7) Not monosyllabic, change to Huh.
(8) Hyphenate? or change comparative to comparatively.
(9) Not monosyllabic, change to Sure.

Spell/grammar check snags: glaive, PMSing, 'em, delish, Chane, crotchometer, veg, wandish, Frenching, bathwater

13 comments:

  1. It's "lying." You're lying on the couch, but you're laying bricks.

    However, past tense, you lay on the couch and laid bricks.

    Isn't English fun?

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  2. (1) Is it laying or lying? Can never remember, check grammar book.

    Depends. Is it a chicken or an egg? Chickens lay eggs; eggs just lie there. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lol. You guys crack me up. Thanks.

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  4. Thanks for this. I love seeing the way people edit. Especially professional writers.

    I got my copy of Rebel Ice from the giveaway in the mail on Tuedsay! I've been making my way through the Stardoc series since December; I'm up to Eternity Row now, which I must order ASAP so I can read it and get started on Rebel Ice :)

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  5. Thanks for posting this, Sheila. Good examples of how to edit are hard to find. I have a couple of comments, though.

    If you change "comparative" to "comparitively" you still have to hyphenate it.

    However, you can leave that out completely and say, "...sweetie. You know, starts at cherry tomato and ends at zucchini." Which, imo, gets the point across by showing what you mean. :)

    Linda

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  6. Linda: No, Sheila was right about "comparatively." You don't hyphenate with an adverb ending in "ly" plus a participle or adjective. (According to Chicago Manual of Style 14/e.)

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  7. (7) Not monosyllabic, change to Huh.

    Or change to Cuke.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Some thoughts from a copy editor who can't keep his thoughts to himself:

    What do you want?

    Does it sound natural this way? What do you want?

    "swallowed a sudden mouthful of spit"

    Ugh. I envision a mouthful as being really a lot.

    For the last three graphs, see if moving "Sure" down, closer to the punchline, would be more effective. (I was thinking of the monster in the basement, and had to reread the graph to catch his meaning). As in:

    A monster in the basement would make a nice change.

    "Sure," I said.

    "I know you’re a chick of few words," William said, "but this monosyllabic side of you is starting to worry me."


    While I don't know the story, once I got into the flow of the scene, I liked it. Especially the cat. I like cats.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Hi, Sheila:

    You know, you didn't say if you wanted us to chime in on changes. So if you don't, do NOT read the next sentence.

    How 'bout "tromping" for "toddling"? Sounds like a tromping kinda gal.

    cherylp

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  10. Chime away, you all -- I'm finding it (excuse the pun) a novel experience. I'll print out everyone's comments and add them to the final edit file; I won't be doing the last pass on this book for another couple of weeks.

    This whole to-do, btw, was to fulfill a request someone (Pixel? Pencilone?) made to see exactly how I do a first pass/daily edit on a scene. This is about 1/5 of the actual scene, but I figured the part with the most changes would be the most helpful.

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  11. Thanks, Mark. I learned something I didn't know about grammar, which is a rare thing since I had it pounded into my head in school.

    But, I still think the best way to go is to omit that sentence entirely. lol :)

    Linda

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  12. Oh, thank gawd. Someone else who does not intuitively know the difference between laying/lying.

    I'm just happy I finally figured out who/whom last year. Now when I see it used wrong it annoys me.

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  13. Wolverine1:09 AM

    I like seeing the way you edit, but there's one thing I'd say. She's meant to be talking in monosyllabic words, but I don't think *all* her words need to be that way. No one is going to be that picky when reading it, and he probably wouldn't notice one or two words that are two or three syllables either. Personally, I think having 'cumumber' there sounds better than 'huh?'. It seems to fit the character more.

    Anyway, thanks for the example.


    Wolverine.

    ReplyDelete