Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Little Things

“Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.” - Werner von Braun

I got tons of feedback on the first part of my novel I'm editing. It's frightening at what I missed (like a duplicate phrasing of something ... UGH). Yesterday, as I went through "Miles From You" on paper, I found duplicate words and some commas out of place. This from a document that I'd gone over a dozen times before submitting, and that my editor had gone over as well. Why is it that everything looks different on paper than it does on screen?

How do you edit -- do you print off your work or do you use the computer exclusively?

I admit to having a blast learning about the 40's when I wrote this story. Even yesterday I found a spot that didn't ring true -- my heroine starting her car. I vaguely remembered an old vehicle (called "The Beast") growing up that had a choke. So, I called my mom and asked, "Did cars in the forties have a choke?" And she answered, "Yes. And a start button."

A what?


It's the little things that'll trip you up, and one of the reasons I haven't written my 1953 story yet.

What about you? Do you like to write stories set in the past? Do you worry you'll miss something tiny in your research?

Do you like to read older stories? I like historicals set in the 1700-1800's on occasion. But, I discovered that I don't like stuff set much before then. I tried reading a book set sometime around 1000 AD (can I still call it "AD"?) and hated it. Tried several times to read books from around then, didn't like it at all.

So... have you entered my contest yet?

Edited to add:

I have to admit to feeling like I should have said something about the shootings at Virginia Tech in my blog yesterday, but didn't want to talk about it. Rest assured, I know it happened and I'm sick. It got me to thinking about the fact that my DD was born only a couple days after Columbine, and the newspaper front page I saved for her is all about that -- not the way I'd like to commemorate her birth, but there it is. What happened at Virgina Tech was a terrible tragedy, it's awful, and that's all I'll say about it.


Ceri said...

Hey, if you have any questions about old cars like that, especially 40's and probably early 50's ask me. My dad is in the biz. Though his expertise is the hood ornaments (he literally wrote a book on them) he's restored several cars, and for my entire life has set up his business at antique car flea markets all over the country. Even at the age of 75 he still sets up at several a year. I bet he can answer any question you might have. (I definitely owe you!)

When my oldest was born we just went to war the first time against Saddam. My heart goes out to the students and their families from VT.

gprfxd-green pickles reak from eXtreme dirt (sorry, I cheated a little)

Judy said...

I like historical stuff... some of my favorites are in the medieval times: Candace Robb (stories about Owen Archer), Caroline Roe (set in medieval Spain), Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael). Medieval, though, is about as early as I've gone.

Melissa said...

I initially edit on the screen, but then print out when it's time to revise. I usually don't find all the things until I read it outloud on paper. And even then I miss stuff that I'll pick up in copyedits. Your eyes don't always read what's right in front of you, but what they think they see!

Tori Lennox said...

I edit better with hard copy.

I've had characters in the past say things that are very modern sayings. Like somebody in the mid-1800s telling somebody they sounded like a broken record. *g*

Charity said...

Print, print, I always print hard copies.

I do look for unintentional repeated words, but I think this is a mania for some writers out there *cough*RWA contest judges*cough*.

Coffee should almost always be coffee and not “a mug of steaming brown liquid.” Seriously, if someone offers you that, are you drinking it? I’m not.

M&Ms should almost always be M&M and not “multi-colored bits of chocolate candy.”

And I feel safe in saying that a banana should always be a banana and never a “yellow, elongated fruit.”

Thus endeth the rant. ;-)

Marianne Arkins said...

Sounds like printing your pages is the big winner!

And Charity, thanks for the laugh!! It was wonderful... and, incidentally, you're right! Unfortunately, my words were things like "hand" and "think" and "pivot"... oh, bother.

Shauna said...

Charity, thanks for the laughs! I'll stick to my coffee...or cappuccino, latte, mocha etc. :-)

Marianne, my first child was born during the 2002 Olympics. I'm from the country north of you and that year both the men's and women's hockey teams took home gold! Yeah! In fact, my husband left during some of my labour to watch the game! LOL!