Monday, October 19, 2015

Dustin Hoffman of the Typewriter

Before success comes in any man's life, he's sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That's exactly what the majority of men do.

--Napoleon Hill

When I clicked on "Edit Like a Pro," a small free e-book from Xlibris Publishing, and saw the number of suggestions they listed for proof reading, I didn't feel so bad about the many times I go through a manuscript and find something to change. Seven! They had seven. 

If you want a link to "Edit Like a Pro," click here.

Quite a few years ago I attended a workshop where the writer Gary Provost spoke. To this day I remember his hands. Seeing his pristine hands, I thought, This man must spend a lot of time at the typewriter. I’d say keyboard, but since he is called “The Dustin Hoffman of the typewriter,” I guess my supposition was correct.  

Born in 1944, died in 1995 (darn) I’m mentioning Provost because today I ran smack dab into his words.

“I write often about writing,” wrote Provost, “and that can be terrifying. Sometimes I feel as if I'm standing in front of a firing squad and The Captain will give the order to shoot as soon as I have violated my own advice. Have I used too many words to tell you not to use too any words? Is my voice too passive when I tell you to use the active voice? Is my grammar faulty when I tell you to bone up on your grammar?”

One day, Gary stood on the steps of the Boston Public Library with a suitcase full of mimeographed copies of his little self-published book of offbeat humor, and he began to sell them--cheap. 

For whatever reason, this publication, The Dorchester Gas Tank, won Gary a small cult-level following in Cincinnati, Ohio and that local popularity garnered for Gary the attention of editors over at Writer’s Digest magazine, the world's leading magazine for writers. One thing led to another and: BAM! WD bought and published a story by Gary about Gary and his self-publishing venture. 

If you want a link to “Edit Like a Pro,” click here.