Monday, April 25, 2011

The Four Horsemen of the Apostrophe

by Janet Fogg

And I feared when an agent would read my query, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of four horsemen saying, “Come, study writing.” And I beheld a white horse: and he that sat on him embraced the elementary rules of usage and the elementary principles of composition. And the white horse went forth carrying these Elements of Style and his name was Strunk and White. And it was good.

And I feared when an editor would read my synopsis, and I heard the second horseman whisper, “Come, read many books and learn.” And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to read, and also to share and preserve knowledge. And there was given unto him a precious card to carry, and the horse was called Library, and it was good.

And I feared when an editor would read my manuscript, and I listened when the third horseman said, “Come, learn of story-telling, the call to adventure, and the refusal. Learn of fulfilled quests.” And I beheld a black horse; and he that sat on him studied The Hero’s Journey, and it was by Joseph Campbell. And it was good.

And I feared to set aside old works, to start a new manuscript, and I heard a voice in the midst of the four horsemen say, “Seek The Fire in Fiction and you shall infuse your writing with life, and it shall never pale.” And when I sought the fire upon this pale horse and received a publishing contract, I recalled the voice, and it was Donald Maass. And it was very good.

Next week join me for: How do I love three? Let me count the ways...

9 comments:

Margaret Yang said...

It's true! The Donald will save you!

Kat Duncan said...

Excellent post, Janet! All writers will want to be saved, LOL!

Mark Stevens said...

Nice one! Love it. A great selection of titles. Excellent piece....inspired.

Celia Yeary said...

Interesting use of the Book of Revelation. I thought you'd say something in particular about the Apostrophe, of which I have a major complaint and distress.
That is the apostrophe at the beginning of a contraction, if the text uses curly quotes. In eBooks these days, I often the the tail of the apostrophe turned to the left, as if to enclose the contraction in quotes. ALL apostrophes in contractions are turned to the LEFT, even those at the beginning ('em for them, etc.)
Many editors out there do not see the difference.
Now I feel better for ranting.
Celia

Mary Ricksen said...

Sounds so easy...
but it's a real cruncher eh?
The more you learn the better you write, pretty straightforward huh.
Good luck and many sales!!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Fun post, Janet. Reminds me of the Donald Maass "The Fire in Fiction" workshop I attended before Bouchercon 2009. Even better than reading the book.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Donald deserves his due! He might like this post as he did Margaret's Micky Maass video. Karen Lin

Shannon said...

It is GOOD.

N. R. Williams said...

So funny Janet. The Donald will save you and hopefully you won't trump his card. Seriously, congratulations.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.