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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

MORE INJURY FOR WRITERS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Another day, another injured digit.
   I suspect I'm on a quest to damage a finger or thumb each dawn. Some of those digits are definitely going to be mine.
   Despite the latest trauma, I republished seven times today. My recent formatting war with the back catalogue of prehistoric files forced something from the mirk.
   When that something surfaced from the depths, I went tsk. In the sense that I said fuck.


*

The project irresponsible is slim thriller. I've split the book into four chunks. Not hard to do - I wrote the book in four chunks.


And did those files in ancient time
Unfurl with ease upon the computer screen:
And was the formatting odd
On ev'ry effing paragraph seen!

   Sometimes, bringing old stories into line with e-book conventions is easy. That's not the case with this fossil.
   However, I spotted something awkward - meaning it wasn't wrong.
   It was, infuriatingly, right. I speak of the gargoyle. There's a gargoyle in the book. And I researched the word gargoyle before I wrote the gargoyle into my tale.
   A gargoyle gurgles.
   If a gargoyle doesn't divert water away from a building, it isn't a gargoyle.
   Remembering this bit of research from the hinterland of yesteryear, over the hills and very far away, I did the obvious thing.
   I ran a search for the word in my published works.
   And I saw that, in at least three cases, I'd gone on to use the term incorrectly much later.
   This brings up an important point. If you must correct something in an e-book, run a check on all of your books. When factual errors creep in, as they must, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
   If you research gargoyles, and write properly about them, hell, that doesn't stop you from writing improperly about them later.
   Gargoyles crawled over my work like, er, gargoyles on a cathedral. And I'd let the definition drift. That loose masonry needed fixing.
   I fixed.
   On top of that, I'm from the last generation to be taught the use of whom. If you find yourself using the word in your writing, here's some handy advice.
   Kill it - kill it with fire.
   I went through my published work and checked for usage. The word has the odour of bottled creatures to it.
   Though I didn't use the word much, I had the advantage of knowing how to use it. I'd say that's the same as not using a scythe much, but professing great skill just the same.
   Raymond Chandler defended the word, but I am not here to defend Raymond Chandler.
   And so...
   Welcome, anatomically accurate gargoyles. Farewell, whom. It lingers in my blog posts, but no more in my fiction. Gargoyles and whom forced me to republish seven books today. Our world survived the tumult.

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