Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The reason this post is untitled, dear reader, is that I have no inkling of what it will be about. I am merely sitting here and typing, waiting to see what develops.

Someone wiser than your scribe once said that writing flows down the arm and through the pen and onto the page, or words to that effect. These days, of course, most of us use computers, so the process now goes arm--> keyboard-->screen-->laser printer. But what makes for good writing, then as now?

A post on Erica Ridley's blog, Erica Writes, or rather, at her group blog, Manuscript Mavens, got some of us thinking about that question today. If this is a topic of any interest to you at all, dear reader, then click on over to MM and put in your own two cents' worth. Your scribe's tuppenny worth in the comments section went thus:

"But the book has attitude. Helen Fielding has voice. [Part of Erica's post.]

"Yeah, [wrote your scribe] I think that says it all right there - attitude and voice. I think those are the prime reasons I'm so addicted to Amy Haskell and Trevor Masterson (and Daisy and Maeve). The rest of it all - setting, plot, realistic vs. imagined world, historical era, whatever - hardly matters without those two elements. They are merely hooks on which to hang those two all-important factors.

"A case in point: I just finished "Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant," based on the "Queen of Sky" blog that got author Ellen Simonetti fired from Delta Airlines (from which she later received a nice but undisclosed settlement). It was another book I just couldn't stop reading once I'd started. And why?

"Yup. Attitude and voice. Takes the cake every time."

And that, dear reader, is what your faithful reporter has unconsciously been trying to instill into these pages. Does your scribe have attitude? Probably too much, in Lurker Ed's viewpoint, which is why you will not see any comments from him in these pages. But privately, Ed allows as how he enjoys reading them...he just doesn't want to be associated with them, lest people think that he, too, partakes of your scribe's attitude...'twould not be good for business, no doubt.

(BTW, your scribe owes Ed a vote of thanks for his vote last evening, in which the Town of Greenwich appropriated a modest sum as an award to your intrepid reporter...thanks, Ed!)

How about voice? Well, once again we turn to Ed, who has commented favorably in the past - sotto voce, of course - on the quality of your scribe's writing. Others have expressed outright surprise: "Gee, I didn't know you could write so well!" One wonders what they expected from a published author; perhaps their usual "beach reading" doesn't rise to the level of Dickens or Dostoevsky. Y'all have noticed the scribal tone, of course, which affects repertorial even-handedness even while dishing out the most outrageously outspoken of personal opinions; you may thank his readings of Jonathan Swift for that. So yes - your scribe thinks he has that base pretty well covered, too.

So there you have it, dear reader: a link to Miss Erica and the Mavens, a mini-book review of Ellen Simonetti's fabulous blog-turned-published-book, and a brief tutorial on what makes for good writing. Not to mention the welcome news of your scribe's award from the Town of Greenwich.

Not bad, all in all. But I still can't think of a title for this post.


Blogger ERiCA said...

You've got attitude and voice in spades! =)

(And I wonder where that whole "in spades" saying comes from. What does that even mean? Is it possible to have voice in spades? I'm starting to think what was meant as a compliment came out as utter nonsense...)

July 19, 2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Well, here's what answers.com says, and it pretty much squares with my own understanding of how the phrase originated:

This expression alludes to spades as the highest-ranking suit in various card games, such as bridge, and transfers "highest" to other extremes. [Colloquial; 1920s]

I mean, if you're going to have a royal straight flush, you want to have it in spades, so you can take the pot from the loser with the royal straight flush in hearts.

Thus I take your words as the highest of compliments - thanks!!

July 19, 2007 1:37 PM  
Blogger ERiCA said...

Ah HA!

Learn something new every day. In that case, yes. You do have voice in spades! =)

July 20, 2007 9:42 AM  
Blogger Sarah Darer Littman said...

Award for our Scribe? From the Town of Greenwich?!

(sounds of the AuthorBabe hitting the floor in a swoon of disbelief because wonders clearly never cease)

Pray tell!

July 26, 2007 9:18 AM  

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