The word is in: I did not receive the coveted Editor’s Choice imprimatur for my book. Man, what a bummer. I thought I had it made with this one. My editorial evaluator (who remains anonymous) stated, “The stylistic approach impedes the poetic flair that is one of the hallmarks of strong narrative work.” In other words, trying to fold together four diaries makes for bad narrative flow. (And I wonder, how many times has this evaluator used “The stylistic approach impedes the poetic flair that is one of the hallmarks of strong narrative work” to describe what’s wrong with someone’s manuscript? Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like some of the worst sort of boilerplate. “Impedes the poetic flair” indeed.)
But there was concern for errors in grammar and punctuation, and yeah, when I go through it now, I realize I should not have been so hands-off when using excerpts from the girls’ journals and my grandmother’s diary. Now, why should I worry about overstepping editorial bounds when Grandmother Ruth is dead, and has been for some time? As for the girls, I must say that strict grammar and punctuation rules were not exactly a huge part of the Waldorf curriculum.
As for me and my ongoing concern over ellipses, there seems to be no agreement on those little dots: space dot dot dot space, or space dot space dot space dot space or just dot dot dot? Check out Wikipedia; there is no consensus. At least I now know the difference between “awhile” and “a while.” How could I have missed that one in all my years of reading and writing? I’m sure you all know the difference, but I just haven’t.
Nicely enough, however, I got a call this morning from Kathi at iUniverse. I guess she’s sort of the manager or go-between for the editorial staff who communicates with us would-be authors. She just wanted to be sure I’d gotten my review and to know if I had any questions. I did tell her I was somewhat concerned that my evaluator, in giving examples lifted from my book to illustrate some point, had mistakenly attributed several passages to the wrong person. Hmm, makes you kind of think s/he’s whipping their way through your work. But after almost an hour’s chat with Kathi, I felt much better about the state of affairs and was just sorry I couldn’t have had her over for more chat over some chips and dip.
So now it’s the fine-toothed comb time where I go over all the entries, trying to cut down on the fragments and glaring grammatical errors but still leaving in those words that lend “poetic flair,” such as “pissed off.” In this day and age, if you can’t get past such idioms, I say just pick up Pride and Prejudice, sit down and go ahead and miss the rest of 21st century literature.