Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sayonara Baby!

Yesterday, I received my third edit from my newest publisher. I thought I was done with edits except for maybe a few pesky line edits.

Sigh. Not so.



That's okay. It's all part of the job. I can and will do it.

The thrust of this edit is my hero's speech patterns. His sentences and his thoughts are too long, like a woman's. I have to go through every line of his dialogue and his thoughts and make them shorter, more masculine. Although my editor didn't say this, it makes me think of Arnold's dialogue as The Terminator.

Maybe it's a coincidence that I happen to be watching the original movie, The Terminator, as I write this article. Maybe watching this movie made my editor's words gel.

Of course each character is different. At least they're supposed to be. In many past manuscripts I've agaonezed over each piece of dialogue to the point past editors said I went overboard. So I have to find a happy medium it seems.

But let's look at some of Arnold's short, to the point phrases:


"I'll be back." (He calmly walks out then crashes back in with a speeding car.)

"Hasta la vista, baby."

"Where is she?" 

"Fuck you, asshole."

"Get out."

"Talk to the hand."

Most of his sentences are less than four words. In subsequent movies when he's learning to be more human, his sentences only lengthen a tiny bit.



Even The Terminator knows to change his speech patterns when he imitates Sarah's mother to trick her, and John's foster mother to try to trick him. The speech pattern is completely different.

Don't worry. I don't want my sexy small-town sheriff to sound like The Terminator, the good or bad version, but it gives me insight. Hopefully, the heroes in the 40 plus books I've already written (and are published) don't sound like their heroines or a heroine. I didn't think so at the time and I'm a little scared to look back to see.


There's so much to learn and with each new editor, even each new edit from a returning editor, I learn something new. At the beginning of my career, I would have thought after 40 or 50 books under my belt, I'd be an expert at every nuance of the writing game. Obviously not. But we can always learn, always get better as long as we live.

So don't worry. I'll do as my editor wisely suggests, and I'll be back, baby.

You have to see thius Terminator clip I found when I was looking for the other one. It's hilarious.

This one has the embedding disabled, so click on the link to go to it if so inclined to have a good laugh:

"Sayonara Baby"

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5 comments:

The Redhead Riter said...

I guess I'm like everyone else...I love "I'll be back"

Sandra Cox said...

I loved the comparison about The Terminator:)
Don't ya just love edits. sigh.

Amber Skyze said...

Congrats on so many books under your belt. I don't think we ever stop learning our craft!

Molly Daniels said...

So that's where 'talk to the hand' came from? Not my kind of movie, although I've caught snippets when the rest of the family rented the videos.

Linda Kage said...

Ahh, if only Arnold could've had a sexy latino accent through the whole movie.

But thank you for reiterating guy speech. I've gotten in trouble for making my males wax on eloquent for too long.

Wow, I'm learning lots about men characters this morning. Another post I just read said one of the most important factor in a man's thought process is his ego.

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