Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Can't the English?

One discovers the most astonishing things while rewriting. Since once again setting me foot on my native heath (and my name's MacGregor), I've been keeping busy with fitting rewrites for Anon, Sir, Anon into my workdays. I am terribly excited this evening because today was my last day of work this week which means that Tuesday night = Friday night = "a good half-day to think about this". (Did you catch my reference?) Steadily hath I plodded, doggedly, and I am actually nearing the finish line, added suspects and all. When this is finished, it shall go back to a couple beta-readers as well as to an actual editor. The cover is almost finished, waiting only for my back-cover blurb before actual completion. On that note, if you would like to be part of the cover-reveal as well as the release-date announcement and anything of that Release Excitement Co-op, would you please send a message to heirloomrosebud@gmail.com stating your interest. I will love you forever and a million red M&Ms (another reference.)

But I was saying one comes across astonishing things.

First of all is the fact that I have some rather good turns of phrase. I don't say that pridefully ... it's just that when a line I forgot about smacks me in the face and says, "Look at me! Aren't I lovely?" I have to notice. I really had forgotten about so many and I like them. They're as good as milestones to a marathon runner in her final quarter. Rewriting also gives one the opportunity of rephrasing things. I believe wholeheartedly that my skill has grown since the writing of Fly Away Home. I know The Windy Side of Care, while having its pacing constraints, was finer stuff than that, and Anon, Sir is going to be twice better. I love finding a rough gem of a line and playing with the rhythm of it. I think I've got this rhythm thing down .. a line can be drab and you just play around a bit with the cadence and you've suddenly got a good one. Here is an example:
"Her skirt brushed his pants leg and he jerked an inch to the side so that it would not catch in his wheels."
Sensible enough but it sort of drags out at the end. I tweaked it just now:
"Her skirt brushed his pants leg andhe jerked an inch to the side so {as to avoid catching it}that it would not catch in his wheels."
The sentence now reads:
"Her skirt brushed his pants leg; he jerked an inch to the side so as to avoid catching it in his wheels."
A much better sentence as a whole. I have been enjoying this process. It's like finally getting to use a small brush rather than a large one when finishing a painting. I hope my editor will not find terribly much to change about wording. I have also kept a better eye on descriptions and tried to turn phrases that will capture the imagination and say exactly what I want the reader to feel rather than stating the thing plain:
"That scar. She drew her eyes from it but they descended again and yet again until she felt peculiarly drowned in the guilty mark."
Of course one can't drown in a scar but one can feel drowned by a thing and that is the sensation felt by Genevieve Langley in this moment. I must admit that I have begun again to like rewriting. It panics me at first but just as I near the end, I always buck up and find myself having fun. Hurrah for forgotten magic. I shall do a snippets post at some point and catch you up on the stuff.
The second astonishing thing I have found is that the trio of Farnham, Doctor Breen, and Genevieve Langley unintentionally resembles that of Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering, and Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady. In temperament and character; their relationships are entirely different. I can't tell you how astonished I was when watching My Fair Lady to recognize Farnham's demeanor in "Ordinary Man". Of course, Mr. Orville Farnham is not as chauvinistic as Higgins, but there is a bit of the "women have their place" in him as much as there is a "women have their place" in Vivi. (Catch you the distinction? There is one.) And Breen, dear Doctor and alkaline substance that he is, possesses Pickering's way of gallantry and smoothing the feathers of the cross old bear.

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that there has never been and probably will never be another actress as thoroughly lovable as Audrey Hepburn (Julie Andrews is a close runner-up)? She could play anything, I believe, and she was an inspiration in her personal life. And people waste time loving Marilyn Monroe who is most famous because she had an hourglass figure and a wart. Pshhh. (I do realize she was a fine actress. I am being hyperbolic.)

"She has such a bally fine profile, Jeeves."

I want to thank everyone who has supported my work by purchasing Fly Away Home (only $2.99 on Kindle. Shameless plug.) and The Windy Side of Care inside Five Glass Slippers. In order to be heard, an author must have readers and I treasure and applaud each of you for choosing me. Thanks a million. I pounce on each new review (low-ratings or otherwise) and thank you for taking the time to write them! They are an asset to me because through them I can learn what things I might consider changing in my up-and-coming work. Quite useful! I must say that it gratified me to have not one but several people come up to me at the camp at which I worked (there were 200 people there) and remark on the fact that I was wearing a black dress to the gala, and wouldn't Wade Barnett have disapproved? It was nice, being alluded to. Anyway, have a lovely night chaps and chapesses and I hope you'll leave a comment and say hello because I love youuuuuuuuur advice. (Another reference. First person to name them all, I'll send you an autographed copy of Fly Away Home. There ought to be ... five, not including the title. There.)


Anonymous said...

Added suspects? Wait, what?

Argh! I can't wait to see the cover. Will drop you a line or two.

" And people waste time loving Marilyn Monroe who is most famous because she had an hourglass figure and a wart."

Oh, Rachel. I love that line :)

Kelsey Carnes said...

I only knew four of the references. :(

"Why Can't the English" is from My Fair Lady. "A good half-day..." is from Anne of Green Gables. "I love you a million red M&Ms" is from What a Girl Wants. And finally, "I love youuuuuur advice" is from Ratatouille.


You may applaud.


Hey, at least it was fairly close, right? Four out of five isn't so bad. (Except for the slightly irritating fact that if this had been a test, I'd have only gotten a C. Which technically is bad. Humph.)

Lovely post, though! I applaud your admiration of Audrey Hepburn. (And as a small aside, I adore your writing style, Rachel. It's always a joy to read your posts. I'm so looking forward to Anon, Sir, Anon. The snippets you've posted in the past have already whetted my interest. :) I do love mysteries...)


P.S. Just out of curiosity, what was the other reference from? I tried to look it up online; Google tells me it is a line from "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" by Sir Walter Scott. I've never read the poem though, so I can't vouch for it personally.

Suzannah said...

Oh, rhythm-tweaking and sentence-massaging. Pretty much what I'm doing at the moment, too.

Except that I've been trying to perform a semicolonectomy on my writing. They can be useful for smoothing up the rhythm, though, can't they?

Rachel Heffington said...

Kelsey, why thank you! I always enjoy your comments. It's a pleasure to know you here. And yes! It is a Sir Walter Scott reference and comes out of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" so hurrah for Google!
Suzannah, they most certainly can! I freely admit to sticking quite a few of them into ASA while I barely shoved any in FAH. Now here's the hoping I used them properly ... ;)

Emily Ann Putzke said...

I only knew two of the references... the title is from My Fair Lady and "A good half-day to think about this" is from Emma. =) I am SO excited for Anon, Sir Anon. I'll be sending you an email because I'd love to be involved in the cover reveal!

Kelsey Carnes said...

O_o! I was wrong...

"A good half day" was from Emma. It just dawned on me this morning...

I can't believe it. I misplaced a quote...

Kelsey Carnes said...

Oh, and look. Emily Ann got it right. :) Oh well. Were my other guesses correct?

Mmmm. That sets my score at 60% currently.

Not happy, Bob.