Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More On Writers And Writing . . .

The month of March kinda sneaked up on me... and sank its relentless fangs of unstoppably passing time into my unsuspecting consciousness. I'd forgotten that February has fewer days than the other months. Just one of the penalties of living more than seventy years, I reckon.

Mike Barker asked his writers group the question: "What is horror?"

That three word question has troubled me ever since it first impinged upon my attention (three hours ago) and I still have no quick and clever answer for it.

My problem in finding a suitable answer might be because I am looking too deeply into the mind of the average reader at this specific point in time. And yes, I know that I have earlier expressed my disgust with the term 'at this point in time' -- but that trite and wordy expression seems particularly appropriate in this circumstance. What it is that constitutes horror is changeable with each present-day era, this being dependent on the peer-to-peer transference of modern-day morality, and what is considered acceptable or normal behavior. Then, of course, horror may be seen as the villainous imposing of unacceptable or abnormal behavior on the innocent, unsuspecting, and identifiable, likable characters.

Or is that (the above paragraph) merely a bunch of blathering babble? I will have to give this some more thought.

Although Mike seems to think that Sherrilyn Kenyon could have the answer, I don't agree. Her novels are popular fantasy, not horror. They are the books I could never make myself read, being akin to romance novels.

But, of course, I could be wrong... again.

The overlooked typo is the bane of even careful writers and their editors. How many instances have I found of the repeated word -- (... on the the dark, silent beach...) -- and the grammatically incorrect word choice -- (...there feral and ferocious red-rimmed eyes..." instead of "...their eyes...") -- how many? Too many. And these careless slips have a way of defeating the author's purpose, be it instilling fear, horror, or whatever other emotion was intended. A detail-oriented copy editor can be a real lifesaver.

Here is an actual typo that I caught just today: "I totally confused my cow orker yesterday..." Huh? my cow orker? If this typo had been within a manuscript's final draft and had found its way into a published story... well, you know what I'm saying. Right?

One already professionally edited website I was asked to examine actually still contained nineteen (19) errors... one of them being a repeated word (...the the...) and another being (well... I don't remember what it was but it was a funny error.)

To a limited degree, I can offer a valuable service to certain selected writers. You can read about my unusual FREE service HERE,

Again, the link is: http://www.genechambers.com/edit.htm


My newest project, compiling some of my earlier unpublished manuscripts and interspersing them with selected sketches of my life in the middle and latter parts of the twentieth century, is progressing... but slowly. Why? Laziness, of course. I'd rather read than write.

But I intend to get busy and finish it up. Soon.

Rensselaer Adventures
recently featured a piece about the 2011 accumulation of snow. Below is a photo I am including here with permission from the photographer -- a picture that struck me as particularly striking. Probably because I was a resident of Rensselaer for the first forty years of my life, and I recognize the creek pictured, as well as recalling from memory both the beauty and the horror of those Hoosier winters.

Photo reproduced here with permission of Robert Schenk


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