Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Say What?

I know. There's no picture of shoes. I had the perfect one picked out for this post, but I couldn't bear the thought of looking at it or of forcing you to look at it. It was a picture of rat shoes. Yes, they were shoes that looked like rats! How sick is that? Now, why was it a perfect picture for today's post? Well, it reminded me of of a hotel sign we saw in Branson last week. We can all clearly see that the sign is supposed to read: Welcome Friendly Rates. But what it says is: Welcome Friendly Rats. Do the hotel owners not care enough about what kind of message they are sending to fix the sign? Apparently not! Now did I really think the hotel had rats? No. But was I jumping up and down with glee because we weren't staying there? Yep, I sure was. So what message is my writing sending? Have I taken the time to fix all the glitches that might say something I don't want to say? Or have I been looking at it for so long that I'm failing to even see the glitches? What about you? Do you have any pesky little rodents to get rid of? Is your writing saying what you want it to?


Stephanie Faris said...

We once saw a Shell gas station where the S had fallen off the sign. I got a huge kick out of getting my gas at HELL.

Terri Tiffany said...

I hate it when I look back and find I messed up something in my writing or the idea just didn't come across clearly. Good point!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Presentation is a BIG part of this thing we do called writing.

Weronika Janczuk said...

Another great thought, and this is something that I've never really considered. It's a perspective that I will have to remember when I inspect my dialogue during the revision process.

Merci beacoup! Hope you're having a great week.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

This is a timely post. I just finished another set of revisions of one of my mss. THAT, REALIZED, and WAS were rodents in my work once more.

K. M. Walton said...

I feel honored that my post inspired you. That is cool.

My last WIP, the one I separated from, was infested with pests. Like, plot points I couldn't weave back in and details I'd put in early on that didn't work anymore, and oh, like the whole ending. I could not for the life of me figure out the reason for the problem in my book - it ended up becoming way too complicated. And I couldn't make it work. Maybe I will go back to it someday and it will all magically come together, who knows.

I hope your sequel writing is going well. I am sending you good sequel-writing-vibes!

Susan R. Mills said...

I love coming across funny signs. The Shell one, that's good!

Yes, I hate that, too! It happens far too often, doesn't it?

Ah, "presentation." It puts so much pressure on us!

There are so many things to think about during revision, isn't there?

I've got those disgusting rats, too. All over the place. And every time I think I've gotten rid of them, they show back up!

K.M. Walton,
Thanks for the vibes! I think they're helping!

Lillian Robinson said...

This is my nightmare! I am notorious for reading what I meant to write, and not the actual words. Now you're scaring me!

Rae said...

Very good point. When I read response comments on my blog posts sometimes I am surprised. My words may have been taken in a different way than I intended. It is so important to clarify. That is why I usually write something and let it sit a day or two before editing it. On the reread I can sometimes see it differently and correct it to say what I really intended.

Roni Loren said...

Finding those pesky rats in a manuscript is so difficult sometimes, especially after you've been exterminating for a while. The rats start to blend in, looking like cute fluffy hamsters instead.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

have you read fist pages - it is a good editing book.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Wow! What a great way to make this point. Hotel rats, HA!
~ Wendy

Carrie Harris said...

Hilarious, and a good point too.

My favorite missing letter sign was for the Red Oof Inn.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Good point! I hate when I find those small little glitches in my writing after I've let someone else read it. Doesn't say professional!

Anonymous said...

I would have no problem with the friendly rats. The unfriendly rats are another story. Nobody likes a mean rodent.

Susan R. Mills said...

You know, I just realized the sign also indicates that their WIFI continues to break! I think they mean to say that they have WIFI and a continental breakfast.

I don't mean to scare you. It's all fixable. Really it is! You just need a little rat poison, that's all.

Yes, that happens to me sometimes. My blog post obviously doesn't come across as it was intended. You bring up another good point, though. Not everyone interprets things the same way.

Fiction Groupie,
I hate hampsters, too. But you are right. Those rodents do start blending in over time, don't they?

You are the second person to mention that book. I guess I'll have to check it out.

Thank goodness our hotel didn't have any rats, but some of the places I saw, well, I had to wonder.

Thanks for stopping by. Red Oof Inn--that's funny!

You are right. It does not say professional, and I think we all want to come across as being professional, don't we?

Struggling Writer,
I would agree with you. Friendly rats are better than mean rodents, but they're all disgusting!

Karen M. Peterson said...

That sign is just awesome!

But you're right. It is also a good reminder to make sure the message is clear. So often I know exactly what I mean, but when I talk to someone else, my message isn't getting through.

Unknown said...

I use a lot of words quite often, but I used to be very wordy--I think they're different--I wasted words. That little rat has improved some I believe.

Great question!

Unknown said...

except I just used the word "very"...I hate it when I do that! Another rat I suppose.

Jody Hedlund said...

Interesting thought. Perhaps that's another good reason for us to invest in critiques so that we can get feedback about the things we're missing seeing!

milliverstravels said...

This is my first real visit and I love this blog. The colors and visuals are inviting, and the writing is honest, fun and thought-provoking. And I love the shoe theme!

That's a great question about rats in my writing. I'm pretty much a stickler when it comes to proofreading and editing. I'd say the biggest rat in my writing is being long-winded. I've been trying hard lately to write more succinctly.

I wrote a screenplay and that was the best training ever. A good script does not exceed 110 pages and has more white space than black. Even though I'm usually long-winded, I loved the discipline!

Danyelle L. said...

Since I'm eating dinner right now, I am very grateful that you didn't include the picture. :D Great thoughts, and why I think Betas are so important. We know what we're saying. The trick is to make sure everyone else does too. :D

Heather Sunseri said...

I definitely have rats in my writing. I'm trying to ignore them at the moment.

Susan R. Mills said...

I think you bring up a good point. This factor is a huge part of every day communication, not just writing.

I use "very" too often also! Sometimes, there's just no other word that will do!

Critiques can be quite useful in finding the rats, can't they?

Thanks for popping in! And, of course, thanks for the compliments. 110 pages? Mostly white space? Good for you!

Yes, be very glad I didn't include the picture. It was the nastiest thing I've ever seen. If anyone wants to see it, I found it when I did a Google Image search for scary shoes for yesterday's post. You'll probably be able to pull it up to. I think they were slippers, but I'm not sure. They looked like real rats! Yuck!

I can't ignore them. Especially when I hear them gnawing and whatever else annoying little rats do! But while you're in the thick of writing, yes, it's probably best to just ignore them.

Anna C. Morrison said...

Well, I'm a Rat Girl at Faire, and we race live rats, so I think that welcoming rats at that motel is just fine. But I know what you mean about sending messages unintentionally. I am always amazed during workshop, and finding out others' perceptions of my work is priceless. Sometimes you just can't catch that yourself.

Kathy said...

Well, as a former proofreader, I know my writing is free of spelling errors.

But other kinds of boo-boos, maybe not. I will say blogging has helped my writing improve.

Amber Lynae said...

This post is funny, it makes me think about the fact that I often (VERY VERY OFTEN) forget to type the 'not' in my sentences. So I end up typing the opposite of what I mean to type without noticing and I just have all these not floating out there somewhere. If you find my missing not's can you put them back in my sentences for me. Thanks.

Susan R. Mills said...

Racing live rats? Are you serious? I guess you have a lot fewer issues with fear than I do. I love that you called others' perceptions priceless. That is so true!

I'm almost embarrassed that you are reading my blog. You've probably seen a zillion spelling errors. In fact, there's probably at least five in this sentence! :)

Amber Lynae,
That's an easy thing to miss. But I see what you're saying. It makes all the difference in the meaning of the sentence, doesn't it?

batsick said...

Ahh, I heard of stuff like this before, like Office Ax, (M fell off of the building or something). I am also looking for follwers of my blog. Could you please visit and comment on some of my posts at ? Thanks. I'm a writer too, so I'm trying to get my voice heard. Please follow if you want!!

Faith said...

I think it's so, so easy to work on something for so long that you start to miss things, or your eyes glaze over and you get stuck on a sentence you KNOW needs to change. But for the life of you, you can't think of another way to say it!!!

That said, there's a motel down the street that offers "free movis" with each room rental. *facepalm*