Friday, April 8, 2011

Winner's Name & the Joys of the Future Progressive

I just heard back from Maureen McGowan on the results of her drawing and, thanks to the magic of Random.org, Robin Kaye is the book winner! Congrats, Robin (I'll email you with the details today ;). And to everyone who left comments about Maureen's books this week, thank you all so much!!

So, I've been working on copy-edits for A Summer in Europe this week, in between dealing with my son, who's been home sick for much of it. And, yesterday, I was feeling reasonably authorly here. I've got a 16-page style-sheet packet the copy editor/CE pulled together with a list of quotes I've used in the book and their page numbers; various style choices (i.e., when to capitalize the first initial after a colon and when not to, when to write out dates and numbers and when not to, etc.); lists of "special terms" and foreign words and the pages they're found on in the manuscript (everything from the Italian word amici to my fleeting reference to the Vigadó Concert Hall in Budapest); and, finally, all the characters in the book (alphabetized by last name) along with their ages, physical descriptions and any unusual background details.

I can't escape my feelings of awe at what these CEs do and, also, my own sense of accomplishment in having written this almost-ready-to-print novel, which required such a lengthy and incredibly well-organized style-sheet packet. But this is my third novel. I know how to do this stuff now. I actually understand what the CE is saying in her notes. I get English -- yes, I do! -- and I was feeling pretty proud and confident in my ability to decode my native language...when my son walks into my workspace yesterday afternoon with a sheet of paper in his hand and a mystified expression on his face. His language arts homework, it turns out. Grammar.

He's in 6th grade, and this sheet was on verb tenses, the lesson on which he'd missed at school because of being home sick. He handed it to me and I stared at it for some time, unblinkingly. Now, I thought I had a fairly strong working knowledge of verb tense. Guess what? NOT SO.

Instead of finishing up my authorly copy-edits last night, I spent the better part of two hours reviewing some technical terms with my son that I'm not sure I ever really learned. I'm still not quite sure I know them. (Who gets this stuff? And will you come over?!) But, for the benefit of all of you, in case a similar scenario arises in your households, here are my crib notes on eight of the seemingly endless verb tenses out there:

Present: I write
Past: I wrote
Future: I will write
Present Perfect: I have written
Past Perfect: I had written
Present Progressive: I am writing
Past Progressive: I was writing
Future Progressive: I will be writing

And, yes, future progressive, here I come! (Have a great weekend, everyone. Anybody have fun plans? Diagramning sentences, maybe? :)


Brett said...

I will NOT be diagramming sentences this weekend. ;-) But I need to start brushing up on my long-buried knowledge of the French language. This weekend, I'll be booking an apartment in Paris for my "Autumn in Europe" coming up this October! Can't wait!!

Caryn Caldwell said...

Ooh, thanks! That present progressive gets me every time... ;-)

Seriously, though, I had grammar all through school, then I majored in English AND took linguistics classes, and I *still* didn't know a lot of those terms. I think most of what I learned about grammar actually came from my Spanish classes, where learning it seemed more important somehow.

Edie Ramer said...

No diagramming sentences for me, either. But I hope I'll be writing some. My CP is an English major, so I hope when she's critiquing, she corrects any grammar mistakes.

Marilyn Brant said...

Brett~you're going to Europe this fall??!! I didn't know about that! Congrats -- how fun! (And why didn't you invite me?! :) Can't wait to hear more about your plans. I know your stellar French will come rushing back at your first sight of a delicious Parisian eclair...sigh.

Caryn~hee!! I agree with you. I took French, not Spanish, but I felt the same way. I remembering learning (at one time, in a galaxy far, far away and long ago) stuff about the subjunctive tense in French class. And it did seem important...in a way that I'm quite sure I never felt toward the English tenses, LOL.

Edie, I hope you get some writing time in, too! It's helpful to have a CP who has those great grammar skills ;).

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Pamala Knight said...

OMG, I just broke out in a cold sweat at the thought of diagramming sentences. All I have to say is better you than me, Marilyn dear.

Congratulations to Robin, the lucky duck, for winning the book.

Have a great weekend. And may it be grammar lesson-free.

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Pamala! Well, here's hoping my son understood the grammar stuff and was able to retain it better than I was... ;) Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

Tonya Kappes said...

LOL! My kid's teachers always say, "ask you mom if you don't get it. She's a writer." Hhmph! I didn't major in English nor is my masters in English. My degree is elementary education with a masters in special education...not teaching grammar on the high-school and middle school level! I just wing it until the editor tells me once:) Hope your weekend was great! Happy Monday!

Maria Geraci said...

I had a great weekend, watching my high school senior play the role of Adelaide in their production of "Guys and Dolls." So fun!

Marilyn, I know what you mean about those CEs. I'm also in complete awe after receiving copy edits. I can't wait to read your new book!

Marilyn Brant said...

Tonya, you and I were on a similar educational path! I didn't major in English either -- my undergrad degree was in elementary ed and my masters was in educ.'l psychology ;). Hope you have a great week!

Maria, ohhh, both my husband and I love "Guys and Dolls"!! Congrats to your kid on having scored a role in it :). I'll bet it was wonderful to watch!