So Many Rules!

A quiet house with no deadlines, appointments, luncheon dates, or “must-dos” on my agenda today. I’m caught up with discussion posts, and it’s too cold to go on a walk, so I have no excuse not to write something. But what? I have lots of ideas and a few irons in the fire (doncha love clichés?), but I can’t decide where to start.

Our local writing group, a chapter of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop (SCWW), recently published an anthology of stories, poetry, recipes, and photographs, and we all LOVE it. However, one of my students recently said when asked about texting in class, “I ain’t gawn lie” about the process. It was challenging.

It was tedious, difficult, time-consuming, and more than a little daunting to format and edit the book.  But now that it’s behind us, I can truthfully say that holding the book in our hands and leafing though its pages make every minute of working on the project well worthwhile. At one point, I was about ready to chuck my copy of The Chicago Manual of Style in the trash. So many rules!

Fortunately, wisdom prevailed, and we conformed to guidelines about quotation marks, scientific terminology, numbers, and several other items. About numbers, I was under the mistaken impression that numbers one through ten were spelled out and that eleven should be 11. Nope. Chicago says that numbers one through one hundred are spelled out. Numbers beginning with 101 are used as numerals unless they begin a sentence.

Who knew? Not us. We also learned that consistency is paramount, something hard to do when a project includes the work of thirteen individuals. We tried our best, but….

Even then, we occasionally went in another direction. If contributors had strong feelings about something, we deferred in order to preserve the integrity of the individual writer’s work. The editorial process was indeed a balancing act between absolute correctness and respect for the artist’s voice. (from Serving Up Memory, page 231 ).

As of last week, we are satisfied that our communal work is about as good as it’s going to get. Sure, it could use a little more tweaking, and we’re sure that someone will find fault with it no matter what we do. BUT, we’re content enough to convert the work to a Kindle edition.

That said, yesterday, I pushed the proverbial button, and the conversion process has begun. In a few days, readers will have the opportunity to have an electronic version of Serving Up Memory delivered by WhisperNet to their phones, Kindles, iPads, and tablets.

I began this blog with the intention of sorting through writing possibilities and ended up focusing on part of the process of writing, formatting, and editing Serving Up Memory. Later today (have just been interrupted!), I’ll get back to current and future projects.

What are you working on? What’s your feeling about sticking to the rules as opposed to doing it your way? 

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
This entry was posted in anthologies, books, eBooks, Uncategorized, writing, writing groups, writing life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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