by Gina Sestak
I am grappling with language.
Following an appointment at the Pennwriters Conference, an agent actually requested a full manuscript of one of my novels! He asked for an electronic copy, so of course there was an initial data corruption crisis that terminally screwed up almost half the manuscript. A desperate trip to Fed Ex/Kinko's at 7:45 Sunday morning resolved that -- I think. My most recent hard copy of that section (136 pages) has been scanned and converted to Word. Now I just have to go through and correct the scanning errors and try to remember the few (THANK GOD) revisions I've made since that copy was printed.
Maybe this insecurity stems in part from my recent reading of Kathryn Miller Haines' latest, When Winter Returns. KMH has that WWII language down perfectly. If I didn't know better, I'd think early Archie Goodwin was speaking, it sounds so authentic. This is particularly impressive because I know KMH -- she is no way old enough to have been around during the early 1940s!
I, on the other hand, lived through the 70s, so there is no excuse if I can't remember when we started saying "wasted" to mean "killed."
It could be worse, I think. Authors who set works in the Elizabethan era find themselves in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't conundrum. Any term more modern than the 1600s is certain to be challenged by picky readers, but who really wants to plow through a novel that uses only the language of Shakespeare?
So I've pulled out my old Doors tapes and tried to slip back into a psychedelic frame of mind.