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The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More Fun With Language!

So yesterday I was doing some copy editing at my place of employment, which I no longer feel bad about blogging about, because I am soon leaving their full-time employ to become a contractor so I will have more flexibility to go on auditions and take care of bizarre health issues--such fun! But that's neither here nor there. The point is that I was copy editing, and I never cease to be amazed at what some of our so-called "professional writers" turn in.

For instance, this one guy turned in a Q&A with a guy who designs sports facilities. Now, a Q&A is pretty simple. You make up the questions, get the guy on the phone, record the conversation and transcribe the tape. But you may have to do some editing, which seems to have escaped this particular freelancer. I don't know how else to explain this exchange:

Q: What are some of the differences between event centers versus sports arenas versus stadiums?
A: Well, event centers and sports arenas have a lot of the same similarities.

Let's leave aside for the moment the awkward construction of the question and instead focus on the answer. The same similarities? Really? Isn't that sort of the implied meaning of "similarities"--a certain sameness? Now, maybe that is what the guy actually said, but it makes him sound stupid and it doesn't really need to be in the story. Does it? I don't think so. Or maybe I'm just a bad editor.

Anyway, moving on. Here's another exchange:

Q: How do you get the ideas for your sports facility designs.
A: We do something called "Market Studies." There are people out there who actually study the market for us.

Wow. Market studies. Apparently, it's so unusual that it needs to be capped and put in quotes. Market studies. Must be some new-fangled thing that only those city folk have heard of. So maybe this source really is an idiot, but there's no reason to share that with the world! In my opinion, it just makes our publication look bad, like what, we couldn't find a better person to interview than this joker?

Then, in a separate article, I had to clean up after a writer who apparently thinks it is a writing sin to quote someone and follow it with "he says," and then quote someone again and use "says" again. So there were all these quotes that were attributed as "he smiles," "he offers," "he notes," "he cites," "he observes," "he ejaculates." (Okay, well, not that last one. But everything else!) Novice writers, take note: "Says" is not a dirty word! This public service announcement has been brought to you by Astera, nitpicker extraordinaire.


  • At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I find it interesting that the only thing you could find to write about is the shortcomings of others. It must be hard to be so negative.

  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Holly said…

    Oh god, I once had someone transcribe an interview I'd done with a source, and he put EVERY little thing on the tape into his transcription: seriously, if I coughed, he'd put "cough" in parentheses. If I said "uh" or "um", that would be in there too. He wrote down when I laughed, when the source laughed, when one of us sighed. It was crazy.


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