Miss Snark confesses she is ..yes...compulsive

Miss Snark has survived another four day weekend.
While others on the jitney were loaded down with
trashy romance novels (buy more! buy more!
Miss Snark encouraged) or some weighty "look how
smart I am" tome, Miss Snark was hauling

No need for strength conditioning when you
are an agent. Lifting the daily submission pile
counts for abs, pecs and thighs. That is what
Miss Snark tells those pushy lads at NYSC
and she's sticking to it.

In all three manuscripts Miss Snark was really
really REALLY annoyed to find spelling errors,
format errors, blank pages, missing pages and
general all around slacker pages.

So, you might ask, what's the big fucking deal Snark Breath?
It's not like this is the final version heading to the printers.
You know it's "safe deposit box" and so would a copy editor.
If I write "safety deposit box" you KNOW what I mean, and
so does any editor. Why are your panties in a wad?

Ah, dear prospective client, let me tell you why.

It shows you care about your work.
It's like brushing your teeth before a date,
and polishing your shoes before a job interview.

Now, hard as this may be to believe, Miss Snark
is obsessive/compulsive/anal and persnickety.
In fact, Miss Snark's mother's maiden name
was Persnickety, so it's bred in the bone.

Being the current embodiment of the Persnickety line,
Miss Snark's attention leaps to all errors in manuscripts.

This is NOT a good thing if you are trying to enfold me in a story.
If your heroine is engaging in a mad passionate love affair
with a porcupine, and you spell it porkypine, trust me,
the mood has been broken.

It's like being able to see a ballerina sweat.....it's really
hard to appreciate the grace when you see the effort.

Good spelling, good formatting is the ballet equivalent
of making it look effortless.

Read it more than once. Have someone with an eagle eye
read it more than once. Pay for that if you have to.

All we see is what you write.
Tie your shoes.
Brush your teeth.
And for gawdsake, back to the barre!


Juan Gabriel Llorca said...

Listen, Snark, not every writer is seeking to be 'graceful'...and I certainly do not want all of the books I read to have seemed to 'effortlessly' flow from the pen. An artist may have to write clumsily in order to best reveal his vison...'polish' may the be antithesis of his message...can't you recognise the raw, real flow whence cometh all this...can't u see it in any form, does the work HAVE to be governed by "reason, that fat wingless slug",as Henry Miller said it? Damn...yr so rashanal u mite ev'n b FRENCH!

Miss Snark said...

If Miss Snark was French, it would
be MmeSnarque.

rosemerry said...

If a writer doesn't care about spelling/grammatical errors why should an agent/publisher care about the manuscript?

It's called following the guidelines. If you can't follow simiple instructions then maybe you shouldn't be published.

Anonymous said...

I think Ms. Snark is right, and that's what concerns me. At the risk of being snarked, I'm going to come clean about this.

Our brains have two halves. Some of us are born with an orientation. One side or the other. I am a writer, and I am, have always been a right brainer. I struggle to focus on details because I think in concepts. Although I'm very good with misspellings, I can read right over an extra phrase or a missing word, not only in my own writing but in others' as well.

In spite of the best efforts of my critique group and myself, I just submitted my manuscript to a legendary agent and it, I realize, does include at least a dozen such oversights. Is a colorblind woman required to coordinate not only her wardrobe but thousands of others? (For a book is very long ensemble indeed.) Or can she be forgiven the occasional mishap?

Anonymously Yet Courageously Yours,
Forest Nottrease