Writing Wrongs

February 28, 2007

Last weekend I finished judging the manuscripts I had for the Golden Heart. Keep in mind, I’ve had these since late December. So, the whole judging thing? It. Took. Me. Forever. This doesn’t reflect on the quality, and once I got started, it didn’t take me that long.

I noticed something. Actually, each time I judge, I notice lots of somethings. But this is a weird something. Each time I judge a bunch of contests, I notice trends within manuscripts.

A couple years of ago, it was the year of the shower. Nearly every single manuscript I read had someone taking a shower. Often this prompted one character to think of the other character naked in the shower. Sort of a “just add water” gambit for sexual tension.

One or two manuscripts, I could see. But, I kid you not, I’d say at least 75% of them had someone in the shower. One had no one in the shower, but people merely thinking of others (naked, of course) in showers. Seriously clean characters with many, many dirty thoughts.

Then, no more showers. I haven’t seen a shower in about forever.

This year, however, was the year of the dangling participle. A dangling participle goes something like this:

Walking across the lawn, the grass tickled my feet.

The implied subject is “I”. I was doing the walking. Technically, “walking across the lawn” modifies “the grass.” Last time I checked, grass doesn’t walk.

Now, this happens. I’ve committed this sin. I’ve seen it in published novels. But not like what I saw this year while judging. Not one or two per manuscript. And not just one or two manuscripts. All of them. No one escaped unscathed, I’m afraid.

Kind of makes me wish characters were taking showers again.

Now, I have no idea why this happens. I wonder if something simply strikes me and I start noticing it in all manuscripts (but seriously, explain the shower phenomenon) or if I have some sort of weird contest karma where I attract like manuscripts. Last year, showers, this year, dangling participles.

Or it could all be in my mind. Always a possibility.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 9:54 a.m.