When it comes to writing, there are numerous variables that must be adhered to. Margins, line spacing, font, font size, indent, storyline, protagonists, antagonist, POV (point of view), length of sentences, length of paragraphs, grammar, punctuation, use of adverbs, transitions, pronouns, word repetition, passive verbs, participles, and clichés; just to name a few. If we take each of these points in the order in which I have placed them and apply a little judicious thought, I find that I have become proficient in none, sorely lacking in most, and downright spectacular when it comes to recognizing my literary ignorance.
Now, that’s not exactly what an author wants to hear or discover. So what does one who finds himself in this predicament do? Firstly, you don’t fret about it and never consider giving up. It’s just another part of the writing experience (albeit the least exciting) that you must conquer on your way to literary stardom.
Comparatively speaking, the author’s nemesis and a MRI (by my way of thinking) have a great deal in common. The former being described earlier in this post, I believe the latter deserves equal billing.
Have you ever had an MRI? If not, allow me to explain some of the pleasant details involved with the procedure.
My very first experience with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) went something like this:
Check in at desk, sit, and wait. I had heard of patient problems associated with the procedure, but not being extremely claustrophobic I barely gave it a second thought.
I was finally called back. Oh joy, oh bliss…oh no… Ain’t no way I’m gonna fit in there!
I was instructed to remove my belt, which I did, and then climb up onto the sliding table that would pack me into that teeny, tiny hole. I was given earplugs, a panic button, and told to remain still for forty-five minutes.
Forty-five minutes, I thought. You might want to crank that machine up a few dozen notches and get me out of there a tad faster than that. Too concerned with other matters at the time, I received my earplugs. I pushed them into my ear canals without question. The next thing I heard was, “Here we go.”
As I slid into the cylinder, the next hint I gleaned that the situation was beginning to lean further in the wrong direction was my shoulders dragging against the sides of the tube. I finally came to rest somewhere in the belly of the beast. I pray on a regular basis, but you can bet I had thrown it into overdrive.
Then, a strange thing happened. There were beeps, buzzes, pauses and then, no less than fifteen men commenced to beating on that tube with steel pipes, jackhammers, sledgehammers, and the like. Alas, the earplugs now made sense.
If forty-five minutes could be stretched into six hours, this was the perfect time, in fact that’s exactly what happened, at least in my mind.
Finally, the beating stopped and the tray with my beleaguered body slid from the hole of despair into an enormous room. I do believe this room was the largest room I had ever seen and it actually contained breathable air.
I was once again a free man. The technician reunited my pants with my belt and sent me happily on my way.
As you can see the MRI experience is very similar to the first time author attempting to polish their manuscript…mainly, the terrifying anxiety and confusion.
“What must I do to overcome this mind-numbing conundrum called a manuscript?” you ask.
Fear not, you have come to the right place. No brag, just fact. You simply need to learn how to copy/edit line by line or hire an editor. If you decide to pursue becoming a copy editor it really is a piece of cake. One minor requirement is being a literary savant, after that everything will fall into place.
And I’m even going to throw in a bone free of charge, that bone being how to survive an MRI. 30mgs. of Valium.
You won’t be able to walk. You’ll barely be able to talk. In fact, they could dunk you into a toilet, flush for forty-five minutes and you wouldn’t know the difference.
So there you have it… Use as necessary.
Oh, and best ask your doc before you commence to cramming sedatives down your neck.
Post script: This year I’m gonna ask Santa for a clean manuscript and a gross of Valium. You never know when an MRI may sneak up on you. If not they’ll always come in handy consoling my bitterness from the mounting list of rejections.