To: Terry Palczewski From: Julia Fellows Date: January 17, 2013 Subject: The Key and the Shroud General Feedback First off, I’d like to say well done. It takes a lot of inspiration, talent, effort, and discipline to write an entire novel. I think the only person in this entire world who might think that novel writing is easy would be Stephen King. As we agreed upon, I performed more than a copyedit, but less than a developmental edit. What I mean by that is I corrected grammar, syntax, and style and also gave you feedback on characters and plot points. A true developmental edit would be even more involved (for example, going into great detail analyzing each character and scene). I made some notes on each chapter (which I have included here) up through chapter 5, but stopped after that as it didn’t seem necessary to me. Even with all of my notes there, the majority of my developmental suggestions and insights were made in the comments. There were some grammatical issues that I corrected early on (and occasionally reminded you of throughout) that I did not correct throughout the entire piece. I have noted those issues in this document, so that you can refer to it and make the changes yourself. Any questions that you have about grammar rules can likely be answered with a grammar book or style guide. Overall, I think you have a good grasp of the English language aside from occasional mistakes, which would likely not be caught in conversation. Please remember to take all of my comments with a grain of salt; if they come off with any sort of attitude, it is completely unintended. I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I think we both know that my fee was below market value, but I think that my fee was fair because I was also getting paid in experience. For at least a few more projects, I will continue to charge below market value because I will continue to learn. I also feel that as an editor, you need to adjust your price for the customer and the customer’s audience. I’m well aware that your family will not be expecting a book of “Penguin Books quality”, but will love it as a novel written by a grandfather—something with, perhaps, even greater value. It would be unfair of me to charge you a “Penguin Books quality” rate; after all, they have a lot more money with which they can pay their editors. As I think I told you in the beginning, this was my first freelance editing project. I knew the process of everything and how to do it, but I had never done it in a professional setting. This was a learning experience for me. I was learning about what I can do, how quickly I can do it, how to motivate myself, and how to balance it with the rest of my now-busy life. I consider this to be part of my profit. Thank you, again.
The Key and the Shroud Grammatical Rules to Be Revisited and Rules to Be Established •
Be sure to look at what an introductory phrase is. The simple definition is a phrase that introduces the rest of a sentence. Often, it will function as an adjective or adverb. Usually, you will want to use a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence. o “If” sentences usually follow this format. Look at your use of the word “but”. In conversation, it is very normal to start a sentence with “but”, but it is not grammatically correct. I think that you could use it as a stylistic choice occasionally, however, for the most part, you should avoid using it to begin a sentence. “But” is what is known as a coordinating conjunction, which links the first part of a sentence to the second. Almost always you will want to use a comma before “but” when used in the middle of a sentence. (However, in shorter comparisons like “Her old face was kindly but stern.” it could go both ways. Just use your judgment.) Review rules for making nouns possessive, especially plural nouns. Take care when using ellipses. They are constructed like this: “. . .” (three periods with spaces in between; add another space after the last one if you are continuing the sentence). Never use more than three periods. Be consistent with numbers. Usually, numbers one through ten and multiples of one hundred are spelled out. For all other numbers, use numerals (digits). Make sure that you are consistent with the terms Believer and Non-Believer. I suggest treating the identifications like those associated with followers of a religion (e.g. Catholic, Jew, Muslim). Also, always capitalize “Non-Believer” as such; “non” is part of the term. Never capitalize hump or moss. Treat those as you would an animal species ( you wouldn’t capitalize dog, would you?). o Decide how you want to pluralize moss and stick with it. You could either use “mosses”, like the plant or keep it as “moss”, in the same way that “deer” is the plural of “deer”. If you choose for the plural to be “moss”, remember to use simply an apostrophe to make it a possessive. Above all else, just be consistent with your language. After you make a choice, stick with it.
The Key and the Shroud Editorial Style Guide the Key
always capitalize, treat as you would a follower of a religion (e.g. Catholic, Jew, Muslim)
always capitalize, always hyphenate, no space after hyphen
not “name plate”
not “user id”
never capitalize (treat just as you would animal or plant species)
always capitalize, use “it” pronoun
not am/pm or a.m./p.m.
always use serial commas
Chapter Three Fleeing
Somewhere in Vermont. Monday, 12:15 PM. The car left the school grounds in a hurry. They weren’t driving recklessly but the driver pushed the upper boundary of the speed limit. There were several things about the driver that looked odd. He had the palest skin Taylor had ever seen. He was wearing a student’s blazer but also had on an old, floppy hat and wore sunglasses. More bothersome to Taylor, though, was the intangible, shadowy, dark haze that hovered around his face. “This is Brandon,” Alexina said, nodding at the driver. “He’s my partner.” Brandon glanced up into the rearview mirror and gave them a nod but didn’t smile or say anything. Casey spoke up, her voice thin and young. “Are we being kidnapped?” she asked, looking from Alexina to the driver and then back again. Alexina turned to her with a look of genuine surprise on her face. “No!” she said with a tone of genuine shock in her voice. “You’re being rescued! Those people wanted to do things much worse than kidnap you.” She paused to turn and look at the driver. She burst into a huge smile, very glad to see him. Taylor expected them to give each other a high five. “What about the bomb?” he asked. “Shouldn’t we call back and warn the school?”
Alexina frowned, then looked guilty for a second. “There is no bomb,” she admitted. “Not literally, I just said that to convince you to come with me.” She looked at each in turn with an urgent look on her face. “But the danger back there was as real and as deadly as any bomb. I had to get you out of that building and not just for your sake, but for everyone else’s. Those three guys in the basement were about to be joined by many others. The new arrivals wouldn’t have cared who got in their way or that all the other students were innocent bystanders. All they’d care about was killing you. They’d have killed everyone to make sure you were dead. By coming with me you saved many students’ lives.” “Five miles to the interstate,” Brandon interrupted. Alexina turned to them and extended her hand over the back of her seat. “I need your cell phones,” she said. “We’re being tracked. Brandon and I are clean and so is the car, but they‘ll use your cell phones to locate us. The people we’re running from have a lot of resources at their disposal—more than the police around here. They were taken by surprise but will recover quickly. They didn’t expect you to arrive a day late and under the wrong name.” She looked over at Casey. “They didn’t expect to find someone with the correct name who isn’t the key. They didn’t expect me to be helping you.” She paused to look at each in turn. “To tell the truth,
Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : The police? Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : Wrong name? But that’s his name? What name did they think he’d be arriving under?
I didn’t expect to find things like this either. But they’ll recover quickly. We must make it as difficult for them to find us as possible.” They had reached an intersection near the interstate. The car slowed and then pulled into a service station. Brandon turned to look at them as well. Taylor’s head was swimming with questions. He had to admit he felt safer with them but this was all very surreal, as though it were a living video game. But the looks on both their faces were immediate and commanding and
Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : I’m not sure this is the word you’re looking for.
very real indeed. Taylor reached into his pocket and reluctantly handed his phone over to Alexina. He was very sorry to part with it. It had been custom-built for him to his unique specifications and he knew he wouldn’t be able to replace it easily. Casey had never put her phone away. She had been gripping it this whole time and didn’t look like she was going to give it up. Alexina looked at her and extended her hand, finally getting close enough to snatch the phone. It broke a spell. “Freaking hell,” Casey said. “I need that.” Alexina quickly turned around and opened her door. “You’ll get another one soon,” she said over her shoulder as she left. But it didn’t sound as though she meant it. She got out of the car and took a roundabout walk to get to the station, walking close to a pickup truck at a gas pump. She went inside for a moment then came back out holding a can of soda and walked purposefully back to the car. She got in and they were on their way again. They didn’t get onto the expressway after all. They turned onto a county two-lane road, heading north. Brandon seemed to know where he was going and maintained the maximum legal speed the whole time. “What’d you do with our phones?” Casey asked. Alexina smiled and looked back at her. “They’re in the back of that truck. It’ll buy us a few hours while the people tracking us figure that out.” Casey stared at Alexina for a second. “Okay,” she finally said with her voice firming as she spoke. “Somebody tell me, just WHAT IN THE FREAKING HELL IS GOING ON?” Alexina turned to her, a surprised and amused look on her face. She smiled. “It’s a long story, but I guess we have time.”
Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : Perhaps “steadying” would be a better word?
“Yes,” Taylor said. “Please tell us.” The blonde looked at Taylor, staring intently into his eyes. “You’re special,” she said. “You’re a Key. Brandon and I have been sent to find you and keep you safe. Unfortunately the Believers are trying to find you too, but not with the same intentions.” She paused to look over at Casey. “The Believers are the bad guys. Those students back there, the ones in the basement with the shaved heads, were a type of Believers that we call Takers. They go around the world, searching out Keys,” and here she paused to nod towards Taylor, “and then, well, they eliminate them.” She turned to look at Taylor again. “But Brandon and I got there in time to save you.” Taylor was beginning to think that a straightforward kidnapping might have actually been preferable to this. But Alexina had much more to say, this time to Casey. “I’m not sure what your role is. You’re not a Key, I’m certain of that. But you have the name and family history of one so somehow you and this Key,” and here she turned to look at Taylor again, “are linked.” Casey had a dazed look on her face, but it was obvious her mind was working overtime. “Key, Takers, Believers?” she asked softly. “Can you start at the beginning and make some sense? If this is meant to be reassuring, it’s not. You’re actually scaring me.” Alexina almost—but not quite—rolled her eyes. She took a deep breath, then looked at both of them a second before going on. “It is not possible to explain and be reassuring at the same time, but maybe I can make some sense of what you saw back in the school. We’re the good guys. Our people call our side the Non-Believers. I’m Alexina,” she said, and then paused for a second
before continuing. “I’m what you’d call a werewolf.” She turned to the driver. “Or, as he prefers to call me, a hump. This is my partner Brandon”, and again she paused for a second. “He’s what you’d call a vampire. Or, as I prefer to call him, a moss.” She pointed at Taylor. “You, Taylor, are a Key, and so are a very special human.” “That didn’t help at all,” Casey blurted out. Alexina looked at her. “There’s no easy way to explain. My real name is unpronounceable to you. Alexina is the name of a human female I admire very much who lived a long time ago.” “And my real name would be even more unpronounceable to you than hers,” Brandon said while concentrating on his driving. “Brandon happens to mean the same thing in your language as my name does in mine.” “I’ll be sure to look it up next time I’m online, Casey said, sounding snippy in spite of her fear. “But seriously, a werewolf and a vampire? And what’s with this hump and moss stuff?”
Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : Always one word.
“Vampires and werewolves normally don’t get along very well. Hump is meant to be a derogatory nickname. But I’ve been working with Brandon and called a Hump so long that I take it as a second name, especially when working with non-believers. It’s from what a dog does to your leg. Get it? Hump?” She nodded at the driver. “Moss is a nickname, too, given by my kind to his. Moss is short for mosquito. Get it? As in bloodsucker?” Taylor was getting dizzy. This was too ridiculous. If he hadn’t witnessed those three toughs getting killed, he’d have insisted that they stop and let them out. But it had happened; there was
Julia Fellows 4/17/13 10:51 PM Comment : I think this is easy to understand and it works as a derogatory term, but I think the promiscuous connotations of the term might make it a bad replacement.