Sunday, March 11, 2007

SUM3 WEEK

JODY WALLACE, also the editor of SUM3, swears she didn't crowbar her own story into the anthology; JOYCE ELLEN ARMOND of the Speculative Romance Newsletter and LIZ BURTON of Zumaya Publishing approved it first. Ms. Wallace's resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt. One of her alter egos is "The Grammar Wench", which should give you an indication of her character. Aside from this anthology, she is published in small press erotic romance under the pen name Ellie Marvel and has several novellas with Red Sage Publishing in their line of Secrets anthologies. You can find out more at http://www.jodywallace.com/.

Wallace's contribution to SUM3 is "Cooley's Panther”, which skews the contemporary world to paranormal in this suburban fantasy. For an excerpt click here.


Can You Turn It Off?

Or will it rule your leisure time? No, I'm not talking about the TV, I'm talking about my internal editor, that bitch on wheels who is doing her best to sour the thing I used to love most in the world -- reading for pleasure.

It feels like she's always worn me out, but I can recall younger, glowier days of reading books with an uncritical eye. (Ok, let's get real...a LESS critical eye.) When I was a kid, I would devour the giant stack of library books within days of bringing them home and then, of course, have nothing to read until Mom took us back to the library. Once I was older, I used to hole up all week-end instead of socializing and stick my nose in someone else's imagination.

Those days are over. Now that I'm a writer and editor, I can barely get through a book without noticing typos, clunky POV shifts, weaknesses in characterization, cliched plotting, you name it. There are things that don't bother me which would bother someone else, and I know not everyone is the Grammar Wench I am, but nevertheless, it does interfere with my good time.

The rare book or story can sweep me away from all that, and I long for those moments. I treasure authors able to do that for me and track down everything they've written. Sometimes I reread old favorites for the glorious submersion I know is there, and sometimes old favorites pall in the glare of the dreaded internal editor. Such a disappointment when that happens. There are books I refuse to read again so I can remember them with nothing but fondness.

Eventually, I tried escaping to a different medium to get my fix -- television -- but the internal editor followed me there, too. After I watch my shows, I drive my husband nuts discussing and critiquing the just-viewed episode. If it struck me as particularly egregious (SMALLVILLE, I'm looking at YOU), the poor guy has to hear about it for days afterwards.

This makes it sound as if I've lost a valued possession, but I don't regret my transition from pure reader to analyst. The more I read (which has always been a lot), the more I became bent this way whether I wanted to or not. It's just...me. The way I view television and movies is further proof--I am of a mind to pick stories apart. To deconstruct them, examine them, and consider them from all angles. And in truth, I find stories of almost any sort interesting and worthwhile, whether I'm swept away by the wonderful worldbuilding or confused by stylistic oddities. It's always educational for a writer/editor to read (and arguably to watch television
and movies), and one hopes it helps me hone my abilities.

If I have one wish for SUM3, it's that the stories within provide an enjoyable experience for readers and silence the internal editors of those who are plagued by them.

JW


SUM3 at Amazon

SUM3 at Fictionwise

SUM3 Website Extravaganza

2 comments:

Kiki, aka Esri said...

It's hard to say anything more than, "ditto."

I think that's why I started reading biographies. There's still a story (of that person's life), but it's told in a reporting style, and so there seems less room for mistakes. At least, the same kind of fiction mistakes I struggle to avoid.

If only I could see my own stuff with the same level of clarity, but I can't. Either that, or I'm really, really good. I think I know which it is.

St. Blogwen said...

Do you ever find yourself spending hours mentally rewriting and correcting the errant author's plot, characterizations, chronology, etc.? The worst is watching some artistically-challenged piece of dreck just before bedtime, and wasting your night in pointless dreams trying to make it *work*. Then at 4:00 AM it hits you: It can't work. You can never make it work. Because at bottom it's dreck, and DRECK DON'T WORK!