Finding myself in the Middle East

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quiet as a Mouse! Quick as a cat! And other Stupid Animal Activities.

Angry quiz time!

You might not have known that this blog has quizes, especially not angry quizes, but now it shall! Because I am angry and I will quiz you and then explain myself, and then--well, I have not thought it through 'til the end, but it will do something, like make you feel annoyed for me, and then I will feel better because you are annoyed,which makes no sense, that I should feel better because you are upset now, but it is human nature, and that is why they coined the cliche "misery loves company."

That was called an opening, because the quiz is about cliches!

Question number one: What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "at a snail's pace?"

A SNAIL, right?

If you said "snail" then you got 100! Ding ding ding!

Not things slowing down. Just a stupid little snail, and maybe even a squished one that your son stepped on.

That is an example of a cliche that is the worst of both worlds; it is a cliche, and therefore boring, and also? IT DOESN'T EVEN WORK. It adds nothing to the story you are writing. It is a pointless sentence. And in a short story, what does not add only serves to detract.

I can spent an unlimited amount of time on a story. I can sit on a word for a full hour, and then come back to it the next day. I need my words to work for me. I need them to enhance the telling of the story. No slackers in my fiction.

When it's non-fiction, it's even more important to me.

When it's something personal, even more.

When it's about my father...ah. I can take forever. At the end of the process, I know it by heart.

Then you send it in to the magazine. And they publish it. Yay, right?

Then you buy the magazine and rip open the plastic while walking up the stairs pour yourself a cup of coffee and curl up on the couch with it.

You find your story.

And sitting there, where it does not belong, they put a snail. Or to be more precise, they replaced this sentence:

"Time passed slowly, slowly."


"Time passed at a snail's pace."


And. They changed my tense. They messed with my italics. They changed another sentence so that it is now INCORRECT. And they stuck a squishy, stupid snail where it does not belong.

I know that when you publish things they get edited. But my wonderful experiences up until now made it clear that it was to make it better, not worse! To enhance, not detract!

That was the end of the quiz, by the way. It was just one question, so you can put away your pencils and pat yourselves on the back, because I know that you got it right. No one thinks of anything besides "snail" when they view that sentence.

And now no one with think of anything besides "snail" when they read my story.


Mystery Woman said...

lol...I'm sorry I'm laughing..cuz it's really not funny at all and that was a terrible thing that they did and it was much better your way. But this is a great post!

Malka said...

Wait. When you submit a piece to a magazine, they can edit it and publish it before you even see the changes they made??? I did not know this. I am indignant. I really have nothing else to say, perhaps because I am slightly in shock. (I take writing and editing very, very seriously. That is not cool. I realize that's not the point on which the writer intended my indignation to focus, but my erstwhile blissful ignorance leaves me with no choice.)

In other news, will you send the magazine a scathing letter? Will you never give them anything precious again?

Princess Lea said...

That is allowed?

They TOUCHED your work? These people who barely have a grasp of English? Not to be abusive (maybe I'll be a little abusive) but the grammar in these magazines leave a lot to be desired. You would think they would leave well enough alone.

Cymbaline said...

Perhaps they had to dumb it down for the readership?

JerusalemStoned said...

Mystery--it's either laugh or cry, so it's better to laugh, as my mother would say!

Malka and Princess--your indignation actually made me feel better, thank you! No, they usually need your okay first, but there was a mix-up, apparently...anyway, the parties responsible have received chiding e-mails from the senior editor, so there's that...

Anonymous said...

Do they not appreciate craft?!!!

What the heck is wrong with them, and why didn't they at least show you the edits before publishing!!!

Don't worry ,we still know you know how to construct a darn good sentence...don't know about the magazine readership though - sorry.

Maybe that's why Jewish writing sucks so badly, not because of the writers, but the stupid editors.

You really got me annoyed, really annoyed, so annoyed I'm actually commenting; I barely ever comment.

JerusalemStoned said...

Cymbaline--haha, like they can't understand it without a certain amount of cliches! "No snails in this one, what IS it talking about?" Actually, this magazine is, I think, a cut above the other ones in terms of quality and readership.

JerusalemStoned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JerusalemStoned said...

Hi, sporatic, I missed you! Thanks for your indignation, and join the club! Also, I know your doing your upmost to teach the next generations of writers how to do just that, and I salute you.

JerusalemStoned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cymbaline said...

For the record - your sentence was better, less cliche-y and more original literarily. Go you!!!

CantStopBaking said...

Am I the only one who wants to read this article?? Tell us pretty please!!

Mystery Woman said...

I read this story in the magazine over Shabbos. I cried the first time I read it here...and I cried again when I read it on Shabbos (despite the snail).

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