February 23, 2009

Why Can't We Have Some Consistency?

I’d like to thank Anna K for sharing her blog with me today. She’s become a great friend and confidante, and despite not really liking the situation that brought us together, the occurrence is further proof that great things often blossom from bad experiences.

Back to why I'm here...I’m quite the prolific blogger on my own site, and have covered a myriad of topics. I decided to use one I posted a year or so ago, back before I had much traffic on my site. I’ve added a little more to it since every day provides more ammunition for thought. I’m hoping you’ll find it entertaining and helpful:

So, why can't we have some consistency?
This question niggles at me every time I have to deal with yet another ATM transaction machine in a retail store. I guess consistency in the types of machines would translate to a monopoly, and Lord knows we can't have that. But, I'm getting old and I only have so much space left in my brain for storage. Hence, the 'old dog/new trick' analogy is making a lot more sense to me these days.

Don't you agree, though, that it would make like much simpler if we could be uniform in SOME things. In California, the freeway lanes reserved for Carpools are called just that...CARPOOL LANES. In some states they're called Express Lanes, and in Tennessee they are called HOV Lanes. I just recently learned HOV lanes don't require High Octane fuel. I had steered clear of them since I use the lowest grade gasoline available. *lol* I finally figured out HOV means High Occupancy Vehicle. Now I'm challenged to discover how many people you must have in your car. A Volkswagen full of clowns...three people, two. Me and a blowup doll? *lol* See, we aren't even uniform in that. In my old home state it's two, in some places it's three. I can just picture the committees that make up these rules. "Well, Let's show California we can go them one better. We'll require three adults, a child and a dog."

I guess I'll have to slow down and read the signs when I pass. You can't just assume you know the answer, can you? I'm beginning to understand why people just stay home. It's easier. Besides, I don't have a dog. :)

I’ve found writing to be no less frustrating. Each publisher, editor and critiquer has their own preferences and styles, and they change from house-to-house and person-to-person. House A requires their font to Times Roman, but House B prefers, Georgia, C wants Arial, and D demands Abadi Condensed. House F wants double spacing, while G wants 1.5. Agent Orange wants a five page synopsis, but Agent Apple wants it crunched into one. Critiquer C thinks I need to say ‘she felt’, but during edits in another work, I’ve been warned away from using ‘felt’ and instructed that if you are in the character’s POV, it’s assumed she did the feeling.

Stay clear of gerunds, avoid those ‘ly’ words and use stronger verbs instead; don’t combine identifying and action tags, instead eliminate the identifier in favor of action. Example: “Don’t’ cry,” he whispered, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Better: “Don’t cry.” His voice came in a whisper while he wiped tears from her cheeks. But, I’ll bet you’ll find ten people who like the first one better. Who do you believe?

I’m about to chuck the critique groups and go with what I think I know. I’m sure somewhere along the line, I’ll get a new opinion that will convince me to change mine. Oy Vey! And I can say that because I come from Jewish lineage. *lol* And people think this writing thing is easy. Sort of walking across broken glass with bare feet.


Myst Bloodstone said...

Very well said. And, i must agree about the writing. Even though I'm still an aspiring author; I went through the process with my husband. I believe it's gotten 10 times worse in that year since.
I firmly believe there should be one universal (or at least American) rule in all big things that we do, such as writing, ATM fees, car pool lanes, etc. Isn't life confusing enough with 20 or 30 new tax laws every year? That's my 2 cents. *grin*
Have a blessed day!

Jannine said...

You've touched on a subject I'm fond of. Just yesterday I mumbled something about the ATM machines in the stores all being different. I'll press the "no" button when I want to press "okay," because it was in a different place than the previous ATM machine I used.

I'm with you on the inconsistancy of what editors expect. Thankfully, it's easy to change fonts these days.

This is a great subject, Ginger.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Thanks for blogging today, Ginger! I love the post and agree totally. We have HOV lanes here in Houston, too. It requires two people. I've never driven on them, though. I'm usually heading in the wrong direction. The HOV's here are separate lanes on the interstate, surrounding by concrete walls. In the mornings, they head into town. In the afternoons, out of town.....

Anna Kathryn

Ginger Simpson said...

Don't let me dampen your aspirations. Being published is all about personal accomplishment for me, because unfortunately my royalties are consistent--consistently less than I'd like. *lol* I've found wealth in other places...friendships, experiences, and I'm still hopeful that I will eventually have a book in an actual store some day...even if I have to smuggle one in an leave it. :)


Ginger Simpson said...

I think the dang ATMs were what started this topic. At my age, I shouldn't have to keep learning to operate so many machines. *lol*


Maryann Miller said...

Nice post, Ginger. Laughed at the HOV lane confusion. First time I saw a sign for one I had no idea what it was. Were cars supposed to hover?

Latesha said...

Ginger, enjoyed your post. I didn't know what HOV stood for even though I had heard of it before.
Anna~Thanks for having Ginger on board today.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Ginger, I remember reading this one. I love your blogs. You keep me thoroughly entertained!!! And I agree with you on the royalty statement you mentioned in your reply to Myst. I can also count on my royalties to be too low. heehee


Ginger Simpson said...

Thanks again to Anna K for letting me run wild on her blog...and thanks to all of you who continue to hunt me down and support my blogging efforts. Love ya all!