Scanty Posting

PG has not kept up with his usual “the trains will run on time” posting schedule during the last couple of days.

Mrs. PG has been working hard on her latest murder-mystery, set in Oxford and Cornwall. Late last week, when the manuscript was about 75% finished, she decided it was horrible. (First time any author has had those feelings.)

She asked PG to read her manuscript.

PG pulled his official lawyer’s red pen out of his desk drawer (or, perhaps from under his desk. He doesn’t recall where his red pen had gone into hiding last week. At least it hadn’t gone through the washer this time.) and got to work.

He made several stupid comments on the first few pages, and started to restructure the whole story, then Mrs. PG explained that he had a long way to go before he would arrive at the place in the book that was concerning her.

PG regrouped, crossed out most of his stupid comments, and got to work.

And it was work. PG was reminded how much harder it is to write a 350-page book than to write a 25-page book contract.

And how much longer it takes to discover things that aren’t quite right in a 350-page book than it does to locate the dead bodies, murder weapon and assorted bits of nasty concealed in a contract.

With a contract, there is little question about whodunit, but lots of questions about how who tried to hide who’s real intentions. Sometimes, a contract is like one of those movies in which an ordinary man with a boring life is actually a terrifying ax-murderer on Saturday night.

But PG digresses.

Mrs. PG’s book ended up being very fascinating for PG. There were a few threads here and there that hadn’t been clipped (it wasn’t the final draft) and on occasion, Sir Robert became Lord Robert a few pages later, but it was a good read. (PG thinks going from a Sir to a Lord is probably a promotion, but that wasn’t what Mrs. PG had in mind.)

Right toward the end, PG got a great idea for how the book should end, did a lot of scribbling on the front and back of a few pages and started to tell Mrs. PG his about socko conclusion. She gently stopped him and suggested that he might want to read the ending she had written before telling her about the one he had been scribbling down.

Turns out that Mrs. PG had loads more scocko in her ending than PG had in his. She is a pro at this after all, and PG is still a socko amateur with a law degree.

In his own defense, however, Mrs. PG thought a few bits of PG’s socko might be nice additions to her ending.

PG and Mrs. PG went to dinner to calm PG down and discuss her book in more detail. PG reassured her that her book was socko and convinced her that what she perceived as horrible was really pretty good and just had a few spots that needed to be spackled, sanded and repainted and no one would ever know there had once been a crack in the wall.

This morning, Mrs. PG got back to work and PG expects the end result to be quite excellent. He cannot divulge any secrets (it is a mystery after all), but he thinks Mrs. PG’s readers will end the book feeling surprised and delighted.

For the record, contracts always have formulaic, boring endings, just places for people to write their names. Way too predictable. No place to hide a last-minute twist.

Perhaps PG should try moving the signature blocks to a spot earlier in the contract and place a disguised gotcha clause at the very end. Or maybe just include a provision on the last page requiring the publisher to pay PG’s client and PG each a million dollars if the sun rises on September 16, 2021, on the chance the publisher will have put aside the contract and fallen asleep before reaching the end.

Alert readers will have noticed a big hole in PG’s plot.

The publisher might return the signed contract to the public library in the middle of a stack of cowboy romances and PG would have to go digging through the stacks trying to locate it. Failure would mean that September 26, 2021, would be just another ordinary day for PG and his client.

One of PG’s college jobs involved digging through stacks, but he can’t remember exactly how the process worked.

PS: While reviewing this post for typos before posting (He knows there are probably still some typos he didn’t notice, but how much did you pay to read this post?), PG decided that the post title, Scanty Posting®, could also be the title of a risqué novel. Or the stage name of an impoverished exotic dancer with a heart of gold whose real name is Bambi.

3 thoughts on “Scanty Posting”

  1. I respectfully disagree with one aspect of PG’s assessment of publishing contracts:

    “For the record, contracts always have formulaic, boring endings, just places for people to write their names. Way too predictable. No place to hide a last-minute twist.”

    But what about the appended schedules? Especially the notorious Schedule A to [certain commercial publisher with an Antarctic logo]’s nonfiction imprints, which frequently includes territories in a way that undercuts or outright eviscerates the author’s reserved language rights?

    And the less said about option clauses, the better. As Opus said once upon a time, “Foreshadowing: Your mark of a quality literary comic.” Or something very close to that, my collections are in storage. (That this also involves a certain flightless bird is entirely coincidental. Yeah, right.)

    • Excellent points, CE. Indeed, schedules, appendices and option clauses are suitable haunts for evil-doers.

      The OP was obviously the product of a frenzied mind. I’ll try to remember to include a prominent Content Warning at the beginning of my next furioza afiŝo.

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