Fandango had an interesting story as his response to these prompts, the furious reaction of a writer who’s sent his manuscript off to an editor and it comes back thoroughly red-penned. He calls the editor, irate about all the marking and even replacing of sections. So I’ll credit Fandango for my tale. His story got me thinking down this line. I do feel a bit of sympathy for that editor, though he overstepped his role.
One day, after reading a story by a multi-published author, I asked my eight-year-old grandson, “How can a person fall off a train and land in front of the train? And furthermore, land far enough in front of the train that the train can stop in time to not run over the person’s body?”
He thought for a moment and said, “It would work if the train’s going backwards and the person fell off the engine.”
A certain writer should engage my grandson as technical advisor.
A Unique Editorial Encounter
I was wandering my way through an Ontario woodland path one morning, taking in the sound of birds, the woodsy smell of the trees and earth, listening to the wind fluttering the leaves, when I came upon a penguin weaving its (its – not it’s) way among the trees.
“What on earth! Oh, I’m losing it,” I exclaimed. “Penguin! What are you doing in these woods?”
“I don’t usually do woods,” the creature replied. “I seem to have gotten lost.”
“Big time. You’re over half a planet from home.”
“Can you tell me the way to Puddleville?”
“Puddleville? I can, but what do you want to do there?”
“A writer who lives in Puddleville wants a penguin for her story; she ordered me from e-Bay. She’s writing something about Hudson Bay and she wants me to do a guest appearance in her story.”
“But there are no penguins in Hudson Bay. Ever,” I protested. “Never have been.”
“You’ll have to take that up with the writer. I’m just one of the cast. I’ve supposedly stowed away on a fishing boat going into Hudson Bay. Now I’m to fall off the boat and flail around in the bay so her brave main character can save me from drowning in the frigid water.”
“Save you from drowning? But you’re a penguin – you can swim. And as far as frigid waters go, the water in Hudson Bay is a lot warmer than the Antarctic.”
“Say, you really like to find fault! What are you, an editor? What have you got against an exciting sea rescue? She’s writing it in a very dramatic style readers will love.”
“I like my drama to be realistic, even in fiction. A lot of readers do, you know. She should have at least hired a seal.”
“But I’m way more interesting than a seal any day.” He took a moment to preen a bit. “Anyway, I’m just going to do what I’m told, then grab the bucket of fish she’s offering as payment, and head south.”
“I think this whole story is going to head south. What’s the name of her book so I don’t spend good money on it.”
“She’s calling it Igor’s Alaskan Adventure. I’m Igor. “
I shook my head. “Why am I not surprised? Anyway, how be you follow me home, then I’ll drive you to Puddleville in my car. You’re never going to get there hobbling through the woods like this. I might even have a word with this writer about geography. Alaskan Adventure indeed!”
“You’d better watch out. Writers don’t always react well to some ‘slash and burn’ editor type finding holes in their plots.”
“You’re probably right.” I sighed. “Well, come on, Igor. Your adventure awaits.”