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Home of Michael Perry – New York Times Bestselling Author, Humorist, Singer/Songwriter, Amateur Pig Farmer

Posts Tagged ‘how to be a writer’

Oversharing Stoic

From an upcoming interview I just completed:

INTERVIEWER: How do you feel the Midwest has shaped your writing?

MIKE: There is a residual stoicism coupled with a wry observational humor. For instance, nothing was funnier to the folks who raised me than nonfatal injury. If your buddy gets hit in the head with a monkey wrench and can still talk, well, that’s just hilarious. Also there is a certain tendency to hunch your back and get the work done without fancy clothes or drama. That said, any Midwestern memoir writer who invokes stoicism must then explain how he came to write page after page about his feelings.

Copyeditor Chronicles

I’ve written previously here and here of my appreciation for good copyeditors. For the last two days I’ve been reviewing the copyedits for my next book (a middle-grade novel due out from HarperCollins next year) and once again I’m fascinated with the ways the copyeditor saves me from myself. Two examples:

My submitted text: “And what better place?” he said, nodding his head toward the ravine and switching quickly back to a smile.

Copyeditor’s comment: Delete “his head”? Unnecessary with “nodding.”

My reaction: Indeed. It’s not as if he would nod with his patella.

My submitted text: Here and there you’ll see a steam engine vehicle, or an old car powered by a contraption called a gasifier, which can turn wood into fuel.

Copyeditor’s comment: Wood is a type of fuel. Maybe “which uses wood for fuel”?

My reaction: Hey, words are my life and livelihood, so don’t you tell me how…how…well, now that you put it that way…

It’s a privilege to have one’s work scrutinized, pruned and furbished with such care.