August 2013

Words … but what do they mean?

The following extract is from a manuscript I was recently asked to assess for publication:

‘All right, I’ll see to changing that, might take a while.’ Eleanor continued with her agenda. ‘Now, what about Security? Personnel? Industrial Relations? Safety?’
‘Hey, we need those.’ Arthur made a note. ‘Security and Safety have been the contractor’s problem up till now, I’ve been handling I-R recently, and we’ve done our own recruiting, but I remember, what was suggested was that we should use Site Services for Personnel and I-R, . . . oh, yes, we have had to refer to them a while ago for minor problems, but I’d rather continue independently if possible . . . can you fix that, too?’
‘If you want it that way. Gerry won’t like it, but hell, you’re supposed to be separate. Stay that way, but leave it open so you can use his people if you need to.’
‘Thanks for that. I guess we can use them for Safety, that’s just a matter of processing forms. Well, we hope. But Security . . . ‘ he paused.
‘Do it yourself,’ Eleanor advised. ‘Hire one man per shift, from an external service company, on the gate. The company can report to the Office Manager, that’s you, isn’t it, Joy? Now, what about the one item you seem to have forgotten.’ She waited a moment for dramatic effect. ‘Where does Quality Control fit? Under Production?’

So many words, so many commas and trailing points. But what does it all mean? And would you want to read 270 pages of such writing? It is sad to see so much effort being expended to such little effect. So few would-be authors understand that writing consists of much more than an outpouring of words. It is a craft that has to be studied and learned.