(Previously posted on Pen in Hand)
October Horrors Await! Some fear ghosts, skeletons, even neighborhood elves with hungry eyes and empty trick-or-treat bags. But writers…that is altogether different. Here’s an old favorite from dusty Fiction House files. Happy Hallooooooooween!
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Writers beware. Word and sentence gobbling goblins may live in your desk drawer.
Writers, be prepared: You with manuscripts years, or maybe decades old are most at risk! They don’t seem to attack recent works. You may find your old masterpieces decimated, as much so as if you wrote them on oak blocks and ravenous termites discovered them.
The goblins perform quite thorough jobs of editing. Your book, short story, screenplay may be as unrecognizable, as if studio hacks were charged with re-writes via committee.
I discovered this fact, when deciding to dust off and review my ‘TRUE MASTERPIECE’ of a few years back. Multiple agents and editors didn’t recognize the genius story line, character developments, plot twists, and overall grandeur of the work at the time I queried them. So I’d put it aside.
‘Strange,’ I thought removing my paper copy from its dusty wrapping to re-familiarize myself. ‘What’s this? This word wasn’t misspelled way back when. Hey, this sentence doesn’t make any sense.’
What’s up? I knew exactly what I meant to say, and I said it, when I wrote this.
Something’s wrong! Page after page I, first peruse, and then intently study. Words are missing, participles dangling, adjectives inconsistently jangling, images incoherently tangling.
What’s this? Even my main character changing his name, eye color, even sex, and then chameleon-like becoming who he was in time for the BIG denouement.
There is only one explanation: Those hobbling, gobbling goblins of time. My masterpiece – reduced to gnarled waste paper: All because those tiny-vision agents and editors couldn’t see the grand scale of my work. If not for them, my work would be on bookshelves throughout the literate world, there for Humankind to learn from, and, help bring peace and harmony to all. Published and safely ensconced and shining on bookshelves, my masterwork would have been safe from the dusty desk drawer goblins of time.
C’ est la vie.
I’ll go through the book again. And again. The world is waiting.
Maybe, a good lesson to other writers? Put your writing aside for a few weeks, not more than a few months, if even that, but most certainly, not a few years. A SHORT interval of time will give you a fresh, clear perspective on it.
Never, ever put it aside for years, or you too may start believing in goblins.
I bid adieu wishing you happy writing, and as importantly, happy meticulous rewriting.
©Raji Singh 2013, 2022