So this is pretty funny….

My father is a retired college professor and an aspiring writer. He and I like a lot of the same writers–from Jane Austen to Anne Tyler to James Lee Burke. I’ve been sending him some queries to get his take lately, and boy is he a tough critic. His responses have been extremely helpful because he’s great at spotting writerly “tics”–bad habits most writers have that are so ingrained they don’t realize they have them.

In that spirit, he sent me the following e-mail last night:
After reading too many literary fiction queries, I rewrote a
sentence from Anne Tyler:
“The car wallowed back through the slush, with ribbons of bright water trickling down the windshield from the roof” (Anne Tyler).
“With torrents of incandescent water cascading down the besieged windshield from the roiled roof like a towering majestic falls in a lost dystopian wilderness, the swamped car careened through the raging flood of turbulent water and freezing ice.” (dad’s version).
Tee hee.
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19 Responses to So this is pretty funny….

  1. Your Dad is something else! 😉

  2. jennybent says:

    He goes crazy when people are repetitive, hence the "freezing ice."

  3. Arabella says:

    This is why writers need good editors. Some repetitive language is tough even for my critique partners to catch. I've had to go through and painstakingly find them(some of which are probably invisible to me)! Spent a lot of time doing that today, in fact.
    I hope your father has his internal editor working when he writes–it would make for a lot less work later on, that's for sure.

  4. He gets it, that's for sure! 🙂

  5. Jennifer says:

    Okay…that "besieged windshield" is my line!. You passed that last proposal I sent you onto your dad to read, didn't you? Admit it.

  6. Chiron says:

    Love it! I bet he's great at Tom Swift jokes.

    I love the "raging flood of turbulent water" the best. Much clearer than a raging flood of calm water! *heh-heh*

  7. jennybent says:

    Well, in isolation, "besieged windshield" might be okay. But you're kidding, right? I thought he was making it all up.

  8. I <3 your dad.

    That is all

  9. That is pretty funny… and dead on accurate too.

  10. I'm with Mandy here. 🙂

  11. Robin says:

    Your dad just made me snort! Don't turn him loose on me! (And I <3 James Lee Burke, too!)

  12. Shelby says:

    love it. Dad stories are the best — when you have the best Dad.. and I do (too).

    it's funny 'cause I have Anne Tyler's book, The Ladder Years looking at me at this moment from the floor beside my bed – among a pile of books.


  13. erikarobuck says:

    Your dad should consider freelance editing. 🙂

  14. What a great story. What a cool dad you have.

  15. jdcoughlin says:

    I so want to read his Christmas card. Too funny!!

  16. jennybent says:

    jdcoughlin, you're right: his Christmas cards are pretty funny!

  17. DJ Kirkby says:

    That email from your dad made me giggle. What a nice way to start my day.

  18. Nishant says:

    Spent a lot of time doing that today, in fact.

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