Archive | April, 2014

Editing the Classics: Heart of Darkness

30 Apr

I’m starting a new series. It’s called Editing the Classics. Here I will edit, rewrite, or otherwise alter classic works of literature in the public domain. The idea is to offer a new interpretation of the text with insight and humor, to modernize the tale, and in some instances to see how the story reads when made PC. I hope you guys like it, and if you’ve got suggestions for works you’d like to see here, let me know in the comments below!

Editing the Classics: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

You can find the full original text for free here.

Excerpt fom chapter 1

Original:

“The old doctor felt my pulse, evidently thinking of something else the while. ‘Good, good for there,’ he mumbled, and then with a certain eagerness asked me whether I would let him measure my head. Rather surprised, I said Yes, when he produced a thing like calipers and got the dimensions back and front and every way, taking notes carefully. He was an unshaven little man in a threadbare coat like a gaberdine, with his feet in slippers, and I thought him a harmless fool. ‘I always ask leave, in the interests of science, to measure the crania of those going out there,’ he said. ‘And when they come back, too?’ I asked. ‘Oh, I never see them,’ he remarked; ‘and, moreover, the changes take place inside, you know.’ He smiled, as if at some quiet joke. ‘So you are going out there. Famous. Interesting, too.’ He gave me a searching glance, and made another note. ‘Ever any madness in your family?’ he asked, in a matter-of-fact tone. I felt very annoyed. ‘Is that question in the interests of science, too?’ ‘It would be,’ he said, without taking notice of my irritation, ‘interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot, but…’ ‘Are you an alienist?’ I interrupted. ‘Every doctor should be—a little,’ answered that original, imperturbably. ‘I have a little theory which you messieurs who go out there must help me to prove. This is my share in the advantages my country shall reap from the possession of such a magnificent dependency. The mere wealth I leave to others. Pardon my questions, but you are the first Englishman coming under my observation…’ I hastened to assure him I was not in the least typical. ‘If I were,’ said I, ‘I wouldn’t be talking like this with you.’ ‘What you say is rather profound, and probably erroneous,’ he said, with a laugh. ‘Avoid irritation more than exposure to the sun. Adieu. How do you English say, eh? Good-bye. Ah! Good-bye. Adieu. In the tropics one must before everything keep calm.’… He lifted a warning forefinger…. ‘Du calme, du calme.’

New:

“The old doctor felt my pulse. His glazed over stare indicated he was thinking of something else. He mumbled, and then, with a strange eagerness, asked me whether I would let him measure my head. Rather surprised, I said yes. He came at my face with a thing like calipers and I shifted away from him. ‘Hey, I’m not taking your eyes out or anything…’ Remembering myself, I leaned toward him. Not long after clamping the sides of my head from all angles, the kook took great care with the notes of my dimensions. Dr. Whoever was an unshaven little man in a worn out raincoat. He had the nerve to where slippers to work, and I thought him a harmless fool. Explaining himself he said, ‘I always, in the interests of science, you know, measure the crania of those crazy enough to go out there,’ he said. ‘And when they come back, too?’ I asked. ‘Oh, I never see them,’ he remarked; I had to wonder if that meant they never came back. ‘And, moreover,’ he continued, ‘the changes take place inside, you know.’ He smiled, as if at some quiet joke. One of us was certainly crazy. ‘So you are going out there. Interesting. He gave me a searching glance, as if testing my decision, and made another note. ‘Ever any madness in your family?’ he asked, in a matter-of-fact tone. I felt very annoyed. I wanted to ask the same of him. ‘Is that question in the interests of science, too?’ ‘It would be,’ he said without taking notice of my irritation, ‘but the medical community doesn’t really care for my research. But soon they will. I have a little theory which you business men who go out there must help me to prove. This is my share in the knowledge of my country–the mere wealth I leave to others.’ Scrubbing his face like the ‘scientific’ inquiry had exhausted him, he paused. I followed the path with my eyes to see where his gaze had landed. I thought he momentarily fell asleep. Suddenly, he coughed and came back to life, continuing as if he had never stopped. ‘So, you’ll have to forgive my questions. You are the first Englishman I’ve examined…’ I quickly filled in that he should not take me as the norm. ‘If I were,’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t be talking like this with you.’ ‘What you say is rather profound, and probably wrong,’ the doctor retorted with a laugh. ‘But fine. Avoid irritation more than exposure to the sun. Adieu. What do you English say? Oh, good-bye. Ah! Good-bye. Adieu. In the tropics, one must, before everything, stay alive.’ As I exited his small clinic, he lifted a warning forefinger…”

E-Books and Otherwise

29 Apr

I’d like to start a discussion instead of giving another editing tip this time around.

My question to you is whether authors of e-books still struggle with legitimacy/acceptance, and if readers still see the medium in that negative light?

As a writer, I would be just as proud to publish something physical as I would something digital. However, I know that there is a stigma around e-books (as well as self publishing)–that they are somehow inferior, less legitimate, or less professional/successful. As a reader, I have seen self-published e-books that are less polished. But that doesn’t detract from the creative expression that took place. The author likely went through the same pains and victories to write that story as any other author would in any format. I admit that the reading experience is less enjoyable with a less polished novel, but the mistakes aren’t there because it is an e-text or a self-published novel. They are there because they were overlooked. I have come across print novels, traditionally published ones, that are full of errors. In truth, the reader’s experience is only a portion of what takes place in the creation and existence of a text. First and foremost, the author writes because it is a passion. They write for themselves first, and for the reader second.  And let’s not forget how many stages a text goes through. Those mistakes could easily be remedied in the next edition. So, how can this stigma exist? Mistakes are possible for anyone to make in any format. The medium of a text shouldn’t decide how we judge a book. Right? Do you feel the same? It’s crazy to me that people judge an author and a text by the form in which that text falls into their hands. I suppose I’m saying judge the story for what it is, rather than how it is.

I’d love for the discussion to continue in the comments area below. Thanks for reading!

 

–Amanda Marsico

Editor, Proofreader, Red Ink Enthusiast

marsicoam@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/marsicowritesite

https://twitter.com/MarsWriteSite

www.linkedin.com/pub/amanda-marsico/7b/ab8/b/

http://pinterest.com/wordsnsounds/

 

Self-Editing Tip #25–Those Confusing Verbs

10 Apr

Welcome back, everyone! It’s been a while. Today’s tip focuses on these confusing verbs: lie, lay, sit, set, rise, and raise. I am guilty of using these words in the wrong context on occasion. They can get very tricky because of their similar meanings and frequent misuse in colloquial speech.

Perhaps the trickiest on the list is the lie/lay distinction, so we’ll tackle that first.

The word lie, at least in the context of this discussion, means to rest or recline. “Lay” means to place or put. Before considering the rest of your sentence, determine which you are trying to say. Did x, y, or z rest or recline? If so, this is the word you’ll use. If not, lay is probably the right choice, but don’t get these mixed up when writing or speaking in the past tense.

Here’s a chart to clarify before we go on. Notice how “lay” is the past tense of “lie” as well as the present tense of “lay.” This is why it is critical to pinpoint from the start which verb you need to use.

Lie-Lay chart

One way to determine which word is appropriate for your sentence is to look for a direct object in the sentence. The direct object answers what is receiving the action of the verb in a sentence. In a sentence WITHOUT a direct object, you will always use “lie/(is) lying/lay.” In a sentence WITH a direct object, you will always use “lay/(is) laying/laid.” When considering direct objects, remember that they will never be within a prepositional phrase.

Ex. “The book is lying on the table.” There is no direct object in this sentence. “The table” is located within a prepositional phrase and does not count as a direct object.
Ex. “Lay the book on the table.” “The book” is the direct object in this sentence because it answers what is laid on the table.

The remaining pairs, Sit/Set and Rise/Raise follow the same pattern of rules as Lie/Lay.
Here’s another chart.

Sit-Set Rise-Raise Chart

For “sit” and “rise,” follow the same pattern as “lie.” These words do not take a direct object in their sentences.
Ex. “Sit down on the chair.” There is no direct object because “the chair” is within a prepositional phrase.
Ex. “Set the book down on the chair.” “Book” is the direct object because it is receiving the action of the verb “set.” “Chair” is still part of a prepositional phrase.
Ex. “I rise from bed at six.” There is no direct object because “bed” is within a prepositional phrase.
Ex. “Raise the curtains when you get out of bed.” “Curtains” are the direct object because it describes what is receiving the action of the verb “raise.” “Bed” is still within a prepositional phrase.

So, to determine which word is appropriate for your sentence, consider the nuances in definition of the two words in the pair, and then search for direct objects and prepositional phrases.
Here’s a quick reference chart for using these words.

No DO Yes DO Chart

With these distinctions in mind, I wish you happy writing! Comment or email with questions or anything you’d like to add to the discussion.

–Amanda Marsico
Editor, Proofreader, Red Ink Enthusiast

marsicoam@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/marsicowritesite
https://twitter.com/MarsWriteSite
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amanda-marsico/7b/ab8/b/

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