Friday, January 17, 2014


Greetings WYMOP readers!

One of my aims when I started this blog was to give me a place to write stuff that was different from the fiction I was writing. I was (and still am, for the most part) writing dark fiction, mostly Horror. In an effort to keep it separate from my website, which is devoted to the fiction, I was trying quite hard not to write about writing here. This was simply a place for me to try to entertain a few people with humorous anecdotes.

That is changing.

Since I'm writing every day, both before and after work, it seems a little silly to try to cut it right out of the blog. I'll still try to make you chuckle, and I'll try not to make just the writers chuckle while the other folks simply scratch their heads and wonder what the hell I'm talking about.

And so. On with the story...


I sit. I read. Sometimes I read from the screen in front of me, but more often I hold a printed copy of the work in one hand while a pen occupies the other, ready to do its work. I sit and read, very quietly, fairly intensely, until the pen decides it has waited long enough, and is time to go to work. Before it can, however, I must perform my very own little ritual, and sing my very own little song.

“”What the @#$% is this @#$%?” I shout. “Who the @#$% wrote this piece of @#$%??”
I blink.
“Ah yes,” I say. “It was me.”
The pen begins its scratching work.

This is me, editing something I’ve written before submitting it for publication. When asked what my favorite story is, I will usually answer with “The one I’m writing right now.” When asked about my least favorite, I’ll usually answer “The one I’m editing right now.”  That means that every story I’ve written has been, in my mind, both the most wonderful and glorious collection of words I’ve ever seen, as well as complete and utter lobster caca (Lobsters, being bottom-feeders, will occasionally eat caca, which means their caca is double caca.)

I recently spent quite a bit of time ( read: weeks and weeks) editing a whole big pile of my own work. This means I spent quite a bit of time gripping a pen quite tightly and shouting @#$%. I shouted @#$% in the mornings. I shouted @#$% in the evenings. I tried to choke the living @#$% out of the pen as I shouted @#$% through gritted teeth. I would wake up some mornings still hoarse from shouting @#$% the night before.

The process, in short, was @#$%. It was lengthy, it was exhausting, and it had me shouting @#$% in my sleep.

There had to be a better way.

So I signed up for an online editing course that comes out of a local college. It’s not going to turn me in to Ellen Datlow or anything, but it sure couldn’t hurt. The class began the other day, and I sat down and happily took the first lesson. Did the assignment. Took the end-of-lesson quiz.

I was on my way to becoming a better editor.

After doing the work, I noticed there was a sort of  online class bulletin board set up so we students can ask questions and converse. Quite a few people had already introduced themselves there, and I took the time to read their short bios before writing my own. One of my classmates had posted their introduction with a typo in the title, then posted again, rather quickly, pointing out and correcting the mistake.

I, wishing them to not feel silly about the simple mistake, responded to their post with this:
Yeah, sometimes that is referred to as a SEND edit. It consists of hitting the SEND button, then doing a face-palm as your mind's eye shows you what you've just done, now that it's too late to correct. Happens all the time.

I then sat down and banged out my own little “Hello!” and bio. I’ve written bios before, though I’ve never enjoyed it, so I just rattled it off and hit “SEND”. The little thinking swirly-doohickey showed up for a moment as my post cycled through, and then it popped up on the screen, a permanent part of the class record.

And in it, I saw a typo.

My face met my palm with a hearty “Oh, @#$%!”

Some things may never change.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - For those of you interested, the symbols @#$% refer to, obviously, the phrase "poop-a-doody". We all know I would never use any language stronger than this. Right?

P.P.S. - Hi, Mom!

P.P.P.S. - Okay, I give. Poop-a-doody was a lie. But because I can't say it in front of my mother, I'm leaving you this YouTube clip. 
Because no one says @#$% like Dennis Farina.
(Warning. This clip contains some adult @#$%ing language.)

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