Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back on track

Last Friday I was derailed, and when I said it, I was not joking. After I read the email, which contained revisions for my final paintings (that weren't finished yet), I laid my brushes down, and didn't touch them for three days. It was like running a 26-mile marathon, and then having an extra five miles added to the race at the finish line. I just needed to lay down and rest — mentally and physically — before I could continue on. Today, I'm back on track.

Problem is, I quite literally laid my brushes down. And now they're dried out. So I'll have to make a trip to the art supply store before I can continue to work. So, actually, I'm only almost back on track.

In addition to sleep, I revised a picture book manuscript I'd written earlier this year. I'll share it with my crit group later this week, work it some more, and then it's off to my agent. Wish me luck.

I'm reading a book called What is the What. I'm enjoying the story; I appreciate learning about other cultures, in this case the Sudanese. But the author uses a form of punctuation new to me, and it's throwing me off a bit. For dialog he, he doesn't use quote marks. He precedes dialog with long dashes:

—So who cut off his hand? I asked.

—The police.

—At the hospital?

—He said there were two police...

I tend to use a lot of long dashes in my own writing — right or wrong — so all these dialog dashes are throwing me for a loop.

So writers, what's up with the long dashes? Cultural thing?


Anonymous said...

Putting your brushes down for three days was probably a good thing to do. Last month I faced a similar situation that went on and on. Got very frustrated and fired off an angry email to the editor. Next time I'll try to remember to follow your example. There's always more wiggle room with deadlines than they'll admit.


rbaird said...

-Welcome back...
A few days off can be a good thing! Sounds like you're starting off refreshed and hey, a new brush run is always a fun trip to make!

Rinda M. Byers said...

Putting down the brushes to dry is sure something I would do!

I learned from having my own business for many years that the best way to get $$ out of creditors is to pull out ye olde soft soap--like in massive quantities. I've had two situations in which I thought I would never get paid, but the soft soap and lots of it worked both times, whew! Exquisitely polite. Pour your anger into being exquisitely polite!

The dash thing in that book you are reading is being way overdone and consequently abused, no matter who wrote it or published it.

The dash is a very strong mark of punctuation like the exclamation point!!!!!!!!!! If I keep using the !!!!!!!! like this! it gets way, way overdone!!!!!!!. Do I convict you with all these !!!!!!? Noooooo!!!! I'm just boring you, right?!!!

Yeah, right.

If your punctuation distracts the reader from what you intend him or her to actually feel, it is overdone. Get that publisher a style book!