Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Purple vs. playful

I recently finished the editing process for Liberation via Pen with a wonderful editor. His enthusiasm for my prose made me excited about this story again – one I’d set aside for many years, believing it would never find a home. Not only because it didn’t quite fit any particular genre, but because its wording was, well, different.
I joked with my editor that I’d been on a Tom Robbins binge prior to writing it. His editing expertise lifted the story level up a notch. And he provided a much-needed support system when the story hit a snag. With a proofreader who cried “Purple prose!”
I’m not one to reject suggestions out-of-hand. I’ve said it before: there’s a reason for editors (and yes, proofers too). And I appreciate the thoughtful, constructive criticism I receive. The aim of the writer and the editor should be to serve the story, and I want my stories to be the best they can be.
That said, I honestly didn’t agree with the assessment – and neither did my editor – but the publisher did. The phrases offending the proofer weren’t, in my opinion, “flowery.” Within the context of the story, they fit the tone of the protagonist’s voice - a playful voice playing with words. The main character’s a writer, after all – and everyone knows writers are slightly off balance. A little kooky. Our thought processes are skewed from the norm. Frankly, I like it that way. Apparently, some proofers – er, people – don’t.
Rather than compromise the tone of the story, I opted to cut the few phrases. Generally, they referred to acts of intimacy between a couple, but I’d phrased them in a playful way, as euphemisms. To translate them to the literal would have greatly diminished the story, I believe. Interrupted the flow of the prose in a way that might have thrown a reader off. Once you begin those reading roller coaster rides, a severe slowdown of dull description would serve to annoy, flatline the fun, and make it difficult to regain the momentum.
So perhaps this story should come with a disclaimer. If you’re looking for a story with predictable prose, Liberation via Pen won’t suit you. However, if you like a little effervescence, a little pop and sparkle (maybe with a slight lilac hue), then I hope you’ll read it. And enjoy it.
It’s due out with Wild Child Publishing on May 26 (though you can preorder it now!).

Here’s the story blurb:
Krista’s perfect happiness bubble bursts when Ethan tells her goodbye.
Numbed at her new job, she soon faces an even colder dismissal. Only the hungry
mews of her cat, Verisimilitude, snap her from her funk. A new beginning at a local book store brightens when cute Todd invites her to a writer’s meeting.
As Krista commits the story of her soured relationship to paper, elements come clear: Ethan’s manipulation, her capitulation, an amoeba-like existence. Todd becomes her mentor.
But just when things are finally going right, it all threatens to come apart. Ethan’s back, wanting his share of book profits. And Krista. She’s ready to take a chance with Todd, but is it too late?


Emma Lai said...

This sounds like my kind of book. Congrats!

Cate Masters said...

You're so sweet, Emma! Thank you!

Kathleen said...

Congratulations, Cate. Sounds like a terrific book. Terrific that you write about the creative life.

Anonymous said...

It's a charmer. And the lilac was truly fresh and sweet, the way you find it on an early morning walk...droplets of dew still between the petals.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks, Kathleen!
And ED, couldn't have done it without you! ;)