Monday, September 24, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--September 24

A Step in the Write Direction

September 24, 2012

(This blog is a little longer today. Hope you don’t mind!) My husband, bless his dear heart, received another unexpected diagnosis this week. An echocardiogram showed blood clots in his heart so he is now on a blood thinner. This is a new pill added to the 14 he’s already taking.*** Finally received half (183 pages) of the mother/grandmother anthology to proofread. Publisher earlier had said it would be out in September; now he’s saying October, but don’t know when I’ll get the second half to proof. *** I have been working on the devotional book this week on Isaiah 40:31: “Pedestrian Grace—So We Can Walk and Not Faint.” *** I also sent out another proposal on the caregiver book. One publisher wants to see the whole manuscript and sounds interested, but I’d have to agree to purchase 750 books up front.

Thought for the Day:

Today I toiled from morn till setting sun,
And in the gathered night saw nothing done.
My tools and hands were worn without success;
Unfinished tasks but mocked my busyness.
I’d met old age, been greeted by a child,
So oft lost time, by friendship’s call beguiled.
I’d dried an urchin’s tear and tried to understand
The burdens of a man—and lend a hand.
Tonight, aweary, when I knelt to pray,
I begged God’s mercy for the fruitless day.
He whispered that the hours were in His hands;
His interruptions were the day’s real plans.

                                     —Milo Arnold

 Laugh for the Day:

 The city editor had just been informed that a wire had fallen across Main Street in a storm.  He assigned two reporters to the story.  "We don't know whether the wire is live or not," he said, "so one of you is to touch it and the other will write the story."

 Answer to last week’s question on what to do if you find typos in books, etc.:

 One reader’s reply: I worked for years in a healthcare setting. At the end of the year, a very nice report went out to board members and community CEOs on the various departments of the healthcare system. Those of us listed in the annual report received copies along with a letter asking for feedback on any errors. There was a significant error in my department's listing and so I called the one whose name was listed as the contact. The marketing director went ballistic. "Everybody has a complaint," she yelled. "I am so tired of this!" So giving feedback, requested or otherwise, is not always met with gratitude. I believe it largely depends on the temperament of the individual you are dealing with.

In later years, I heard of a department head that had learned how to give marketing feedback that didn't offend. He would use a pencil, rather than a pen, circling errors and making very simple notation if that was needed. He then slipped it in an envelope with no other comments. The same woman who was so unhappy with my call said their department called his method of feedback "soft editing." Lesson learned.

Another view: My take on the misspellings and bad grammar in our paper is twofold: In the Newspapers in Education program, to make it worth the learning, teachers could emphasize that it takes a real person to think. Our class can check what the meanings should be.…If an error is spectacular and would cause ruin, I would speak up in love—first praying about what God would have me say, then writing it down to edit it, and praying again before speaking or sending. (Patti Schieringa, MA in ED.

My view: If something can be done about it, I let the person know. For example, if I’m reading a book and find an error, and feel that the book will probably have a second printing, I write to the Production Manager, not the editor. I have picked up several proofreading jobs this way. However, if it’s in something like a weekly Sunday school take-home paper, I wouldn’t write. (I did, though, in one of my stories where they changed a word in the last sentence that was the crux of the whole story. But I did it with a smiley face! Also, one of my devotionals that told a story about my granddaughter was printed with the name of another Donna. I wrote the editor and, bless her heart, she sent out a reprint—just for me—with the right name on it so I could give a copy to my granddaughter, who was excited to see her name in print.)

Another Reader’s Question:

Last week at my critique group a woman told me that editors look at exclamation marks like I might look at a roach. Is this really true? I am willing to curb it in manuscripts but probably not on FB.

My answer: I've heard that exclamation points are like all caps—you sound like you're yelling at the writer. William G. Tapply says, “An exclamation mark is the author jumping up and down waving his arms. It’s a poor substitute for words…It shouts to your reader: ‘This is really important [startling, surprising, scary, loud, dramatic, whatever], but I don’t know how to convey it with words…or I’m too lazy to try.” Another editor said, "You feel that what you wrote isn't strong enough, so you have to let your punctuation do your writing for you." As for me, I do use them a lot in emails and on Facebook, but very sparingly in manuscripts.

Encouraging Word for This Week:

It seems like our family has gone through a lot this week with illnesses, decisions to be made, extended family members who needed help, and more than usual editing and proofreading jobs (which I appreciate, but with extra doctors’ appointments, telephone calls, etc., this caused a little stress). Wednesday night, while proofreading a book talking about Noah and the ark, a song came to me that my brother and I used to sing—probably about 60 years ago! I thought the words might encourage some of you. (If you want to read more of the words, Google the title “The Upper Window,” and you can also hear it sung by different artists.)

When God spoke unto Noah, and told him to build the ark,
The Lord knew well the vessel would cheerless be and dark,
So God said, “Build a window, with outlook toward the sky,
That when it’s dark and lonesome, you’ll see Me standing by....

“It may be that bereavement will take a loved one dear,
A soul that brought you gladness, real happiness and cheer;
But it will cheer your sad heart, when loved ones from you fly,
When through the upper window, you’ll see Me standing by.”


The storms will come, but fear not, oh, children, I am nigh,
And through the upper window, you’ll see Me standing by.


May God bless you this next week. If you’d like to send any prayer requests, we can include them in this blog too.


Donna Clark Goodrich



  1. Thank you for the "finding error" tips. The soft edit made me smile.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Sue. Appreciate you.

  3. Hi Donna, I read your post on TWV today and came over to see your blog. Those are powerful lyrics, aren't they? Do you have a "follow button" here?