Yesterday I worked farmer’s hours editing The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee. 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. That’s a long day with 117,822 words. I took a quick break for lunch at my desk, walked the dogs at least twice, and in the afternoon, I raked leaves for thirty minutes to clear my mind. This morning I’m giving a shout out to the editors who have worked on my book—a good editor is more than worth her weight in gold or good bourbon or homemade pizza or whatever deemed valuable. Editors find needle-in-haystack errors, as well as huge problems, like plot nonsense and timeline confusion.
One thing this process has taught me is that my knowledge of punctuation isn’t as strong as I thought.
In the 1970s, hair belonging to The King would have been Elvis’ hair. In 2015 = Elvis’s hair. While that extra “s” makes me cringe, I defer to the experts and Chicago-style format.
Skill fades. Rules change.
I easily adapted to the new-ish “only one space after a period” rule. This changed because of readability and proportional font issues. Typewriter vs. computer. I get it. In general, I support the Oxford comma, yet there are times I prefer no comma at all because I want the reader to feel a sense of wide-spread panic. I call this option I-Didn’t-Go-To-Oxford creativity. Sometimes it’s a style preference. Sometimes it’s bad style. Knowing the difference is important. Thankfully editors are good at this sort of thing.
On a semi-related note, do you remember my literacy post in September—Reading is my Superpower? Today I’m making good on my promise to help teach English at the Ozark Literacy Council. I’ve been assigned a student from Mexico, and I’ll be meeting with her this afternoon for our first tutoring session. Wish us both luck. I don’t feel all that confident in my tutoring/teaching ability. Her goal is to speak better English and improve her job prospects in Northwest Arkansas. If I can play even a small part in helping her reach that goal, I’ll be thrilled. I hope we don’t have to review punctuation rules today.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Johnny Nash, I Can See Clearly Now