Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What I learned today

Take heart all of you who are waiting for me to read your manuscripts, I'm working feverishly!

One of my favorite things about reading your work is all the interesting stuff I find out about.

Today for example:

1. Chopped Salad. I revile anything green other than spinach and ..well..money, so salad is not something I know a lot about. I'd never heard of chopped salad, but when I looked it up, here it is.
Who knew!

2. Gout. It's not just a disease anymore. It's also a blood drop!

3. How to spell Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart. Not Walmart; WalMart or even Wal*Mart.

4. The reason the orchestra tunes to the oboe is that the oboe is the hardest instrument to re-tune, and of course, now cause it's tradition. I looked up the note the oboe tunes to -A- and learned all sorts of other things.

I love this job, I do!


Gary Corby said...

I have to add my own orchestra trivia to that. I was once told by a serious professional muso that the violas are the butt of most orchestra jokes. Hence the following:

You are driving along, and you see a conductor and a viola player in the middle of the road. Which do you run over first?

Ans: The conductor. Business before pleasure.

Margaret Yang said...

I was at a writer's conference once, and someone asked the speaker the world's dumbest question. She said, "Do I really have to do all that research for my novel? Do I have to know exactly what kind of gun it was, or can I just say 'gun' when the hero pulls a weapon on the bad guy?"

The presenter paused for a moment, probably as stunned as the rest of us. To his enormous credit, he did not hit her upside the head, literally or figuratively. He very kindly said, "One of the great pleasures of being a writer is learning all these interesting new things. Why would you want to rob yourself of that?"

Janet, as much as you enjoy reading it, we writers love to find that stuff out and put it in our books. The world is an interesting and varied place, isn't it?

clindsay said...

By God, woman, you are well on your way to becoming not only a legendary agent, but also a damned fine copyeditor!

David said...

Now a few specific people know that you got to their submissions. :)

Patty said...

Happened upon your blog due to the oboe reference.

There are a few different views as to why the oboe tunes the orchestra. We can actually adjust our pitch rather easily, if you ask me. But maybe that's just because I make fairly mediocre reeds. I wonder!

Some say we give the A because of the kind of sound wave we make. Others say it's because our tone can cut through anything. Of course I would suggest it's because we are the World's Most Important Instrument. ;-)

I'm kidding. Really.

I hope you don't mind this random drop-in.


spyscribbler said...

That's funny! I was an oboist in high school, but ended up majoring in piano in college. I never knew that!

I always thought it was the clear, pure sound an oboe can make, but I'm with Patty, partly. I'd say it's the World's Most Important Orchestral instrument.

Well, the piano can be a whole orchestra, if it wants. :-)

Kat J. Meyer said...

have to agree that learning cool and random stuff is one of the best perks about being on the publishing side of the book business. Thanks for the post. It's a good reminder of happy things to be found in the book world.
happy holidays (oh, oh, oh!)

Jeanie W said...

Hey Gary,

Here's another violist joke:

You are lost in the woods, and you meet a good violist, a bad violist, and a ten-foot rabbit. Which do you ask for directions?

Ans: The bad violist. Everybody knows there's no such thing as a ten-foot rabbit or a good violist. You must be hallucinating them.

Marty said...

It is finding those intriguing bits of knowledge that drives me (as a writer) to build a better story. I love both doing the research and weaving the obscure truth into the web of my words.

Indigo said...

I'm one of those people if I come across a word or bit of knowledge I have no clue about...I HAVE to look it up. I truly do believe in the old adage, "Knowledge is power". Admittedly I'm more likely to write/wield words to draw out an emotional response, rather than a thinking one. Then again if it touches your heartstrings, it gives pause for thought.

In my case it's not so much writing, rather bringing my readers into a place they haven't been before. The best way to accomplish that, has to been to dig in the deepest recesses of who I am. Nothing comes across more real, than reality itself. Writing from experience...sometimes the cost is more payment on the psyche than anyone could ever hope to know. Now that's my take on it (winks). Why yes, I do tend to say a mouthful. (Hugs)Indigo

Joelle said...

Oh, I'm changing the violist joke to a banjo joke, just for my husband! This is why I like reading as well as writing. I learn so many things. I think the author that does this sort of thing beautifully is Nevil Shute. He's a master at packing is books with all kinds of things about flying,engineering and a multitude of other things and making it a fascinating part of the story.

Steve Stubbs said...

Your comment about gout brought to mind a bumper sticker I saw on some nerd's car years ago that has the same sentence structure. (The bumper sticker has the same sentence structure, not the nerd's car.) It read:

"186,000 miles per second. It's not just a good idea. It's the law."

I knew the car owner was a nerd because no beer guzzler would sport a bumper sticker like that.

Travis Erwin said...

Dang do I wish you repped the stuff I write. I'd have to query you if you did because not only do you rack and entertain me and agent many great authors and books, but you revile green food as well. My personal motto is, Lettuce is the Devil.

Crimogenic said...


Yes, Lettuce is the Devil, but the devil dressed up is easy to digest. Try cheese.

BJ said...

There's no nutrition to lettuce, anyway. It's all water. It's just the 'vegetable of choice' because it's cheap, and you can throw it together with other stuff in a salad and call it a meal. You can do that with spinach, too, but it's more expensive.

BJ said...

And lettuce is NEVER easy to digest.

Crimogenic said...

How about with Bourbon?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Hi, Gary!

"She pulled her sword, a sleek 14 and 7/92 inch blade that had originally been an even 15 inches long, but constant sharpening had reduced it some what, and advanced on the handsom fairy; all the while thinking, 'I shall regret shoving my custom made, silver hilted, sword engraved Tab-lah Ya Sha El, through his heart -- he is hadsome after all, but black hearted so I have no choice; and she thrust the well sharpened point between the gap in his chest scales.

"Feel that?" she sneered. "It's the but the tip of my sword forged in the furnace of He of the blacksmithy in Pekin, Illinois out of a leaf-spring from a 1908 Overland and blessed by Ya Sha El to your doom! Isn't it pretty? Now feel the rest of my blade, you wicked fairy."

With that she paused. She winked. "If you survive this, I'll be at Frank's at six, we'll eat vegitarian pizza."

The fairy laughed. She shoved the blade, burnished to a mirror like finish by repeated applications of 6x grit between August and December 1921 by many little pixie hands who would have been up to no good without something to do.

He winced. "Thou dast not!" he whispered.

"Nonsense. I dast." And she did.

He died in a pool of black ichor, with a look of admiration on his face drawn forth by his admiration for her short spunky self and for the chased silver hilt on the blad, which had been made out of melted silver coin taken from the holy spring called "Lovers Leap Bridge" in West Falls, Idaho.

Yup ... we need details on the weapon.

Oh and word verification is "squeukan" which the wicked fairy did with his last breath.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

That was my 543rd consecutive post with a misspelling. perfkt record.

Arjay said...

Nice recipe. Try adding some blue cheese.

Guernsey said...

I'm sorry, Walmart recently dropped the hyphen.

Guernsey said...

Walmart add:
For it's common useage that is -
see it's difference references at its web site. www.walmart.com

Guernsey said...

ok, its differences -- oops

BJ said...

Well, according to the Canadian Press Stylebook and the Associated Press Stylebook, it's Wal-Mart.

And, from what I saw in the ad, only the logo has changed. Everything else is still Wal-Mart.

Yes, I'm a stickler for these things.

Word verification: dogriump -- what my pooch likes to stick in my face just before he lets one go...

Guernsey said...

it's like jcpenney, a store is a JCPenney, the company is J.C. Penney. Co. -- or something like that

SAVanVleck said...

I have done two days research that ended up being one line, in my book. But, the neatest thing about research is all the things you discover that you were not researching that then become something really important in your book.

It's the journey that counts!

Pamela Hammonds said...

Thanks for the Wal-Mart comment. I'm editing an article today and you saved me from having to look it up elsewhere. I remembered this post and it was easy to find.