i spent the majority of my morning at the gym – worked out for about 1.5 hrs. not bad. afterwards, i was starving for a light, chicken sandwich. and while in the past, i've condemned the likes of starbucks, i do have to admit that i love their low-fat, chicken breast bruschetta sandwich. i finished off with a chai tea latte (to try and make up for my mistake of choosing the green tea latte over the chai last time).
i brought with me, my current read, the jane austen's book club.
i'm only a third of the way in but am enjoying it so much. i definitely consider it a light read but the writing is intelligent and witty enough. and the characters do seem to capture my attention.
plus, i've been editing a manuscript for a friend of mine. and as she hopes to send it in to harlequin's historical series, i'm in much need of reading something not fluffy in THAT type of romance. i've never been a huge fan of harlequin and she knows it. but she was in desperate need of some one with a sharp eye to proof read her work as it's suppose to be flawless of grammar and spelling errors before sending it in. i made her seek the help of some one else to pick up on spelling errors (it's the weakest part for me when proof reading) and after it had been corrected of such errors, i would read through it for grammar (especially punctuation – she has none) as well as make sure the flow was correct (i.e. no confusion of content and who was saying what during a dialogue).
the work is definitely raw and needs extreme amount of refining. in fact, it is so raw that i'm almost confident that i'm missing a lot of errors. i'm not a professional proof-reader. but she knows my writing skills far surpasses her own. it's just that every other three lines makes me cringe.
when she gave it to me, i found that she didn't start a new paragraph/line when some one else speaks. so rather one line per person, as usually seen to indicate characters taking turns while talking to one another, it was all lumped one after another in one single paragraph.
before i even reached the end of the dialogue sequence, i was lost with whom was saying what.
my head is swimming even at the thought of how much work it needs on grammar alone.
she argued with me that this is how it is done in harlequin books. to be honest, not ever picking up a harlequin book, i couldn't come out and just say, "no, you are wrong." so i told her to go home and take a look at one of her books… she came back the next day to confirm that i was right.
as if i would be wrong on that count.
oh… for those that are wondering why on earth i was crazy enough to edit her manuscript… she also happens to be my manager. and though i have no fear in turning her down because she's not the type that would have held it against me, she's very persistent. her constant hinting and bringing up of the manuscript wore me down. besides, if i don't do this, she will not want to think of anything else. we have a job, after all, with projects galore on the horizon. if i can't get her head cleared and straightened out, it might mean more mayhem for me later on. or, my greatest fear – that our department isn't doing enough so why should it exist anyway? my career, at the moment, lies in her hands.
if she's not productive, i do not look so good.
anyway, is it a good manuscript? how is her writing, you might wonder? well, thank god it's historical and that she happened to have spent a majority of her time researching the era in which her story takes place. or perhaps she didn't do a good job researching and i just happen to suck in history (it was my weakest subject in school, next to math).
but the fact is… the historical part keeps it afloat. barely.
the rest of it… well… *rolls eyes*
it could pass for a early-teen type of romance read. god… remember sweet valley high? okay, maybe not THAT bad.
now let me just clarify myself. i'm not one to strike down people for loving harlequin (or similar trashy romance novels). one thing i have to admit, harlequin has created an astronomical business for themselves. they provide the right amount of escapism for those who are searching for that type of read.
but… they are NOT good books. just because they sell well does not mean that they are anywhere near the circle of good, contemporary literature. i've often had to clarify this because in the past, i've offended a lot of people who swear by harlequin, danielle steeles and even dan brown. these published authors are not good writers. the plot and/or character development is practically nil. that's not to say that i condone people for loving such reads.
i merely condone the behaviour of those that try to convince me that i will just LOVE such books.
my manager has done just that. she has tried many times to try and entice me into reading the books that she continuously reads. and it's hard… it's hard to sit there and code a web page while she is reading me passages that make me… well… *rolls eyes again*
i don't see myself as an eliteness. a few times a year, i will pick up some very light reads (some which i wish i hadn't – i.e. all of nicholas sparks' books) to fit my mood of not wanting anything too serious nor heavy. but i think what i say about such fiction writing is pretty damn factual. there's no creativity at all and the issue that makes me want to bash my head against the concrete wall is that, my dear manager, for the past ten years, has tried time and time again to convince me that i am wrong.
i've even given up on arguing with her. it's become a moot point. i know she will never listen to me. which is fine. i just wish she would accept that i will never enjoy the novels she reads because they simply are just not my cup of tea.
i took her manuscript home one night and left it there. she was disappointed that i didn't bring it back but i felt i had to keep it away from both her and i, though especially her, because i could not endure another day at work, having her read passages in chapters i hadn't reached, laughing and pointing out how brilliant that part is and how i should listen to how funny that line is.
truth be told, even the funniest and most clever writing would not be as they should when you read it out of context. but i especially did not want to know what was about to happen if i'm to read it from beginning to end. at least the element of (predictable) surprise will fuel me to finish editing the manuscript. knowing what will happen will just make me lose what little drive i have.
btw, i have recently been chastised, not by my manager, but another harlequin-lover, that i am not well read.
no… i didn't retort back. i simply waited until she was not in earshot and laughed myself silly.