Writing Diary, Entry #27
Now I add a fourth magazine to my collection of publications that I've written for: MOD. Buy the August 2011 issue of this glossy women's monthly to see my review of Food Presentation by Michelle Valigursky. (Yes, there are other features--all of them much bigger than my own--but mine are the ones you love, right?)
I got my own copy last week, eagerly flipped through it to find my contribution, started reading it . . . and then felt my usual excitement stop a bit short. There was something about the third sentence that just didn't fit.
Some background now, so you see what I mean. Here is the opening paragraph of the copy I e-mailed to MOD:
Should food look as good as it tastes or taste as good as it looks? A chef might say the former, while a stylist insists on the latter. Michelle Valigursky, who is at once a chef, a stylist, a photographer, a designer and a writer, has a philosophy that gives new meaning to the phrase "dinner and a show."
But what I read in the magazine went more like this:
Should food look as good as it tastes or taste as good as it looks? A chef might say the former, while a stylist may insist on the latter.
Michelle Valigursky, a former chef, a stylist, a photographer, a designer and a writer, has a philosophy that gives new meaning to the phrase "dinner and a show."
A former chef??? Really? Did the editor's fact checking pick up something I had completely missed?
That was my first thought, as I scanned my article in a restaurant with some friends. Only later when I got home and could check the finished piece against what I had written did a second possibility occur to me. Do you suppose . . . by any chance . . . although it's not pleasant to say so . . . the editor thought that "at once" means "used to be" rather than "simultaneously"???
What a sinking feeling that brings on, aye? But it doesn't end there. Here's something that jumped out at me a few paragraphs later . . .
Although the tome does not go into either technical or artistic details, its "Tips and Inspiration" is enough to get an enthusiastic entertainer started.
The tome??? Since when is a stand-alone book a tome? And more importantly, since when do I use such an old-fashioned word as "tome" to describe a paperback published in 2010? I think that words should match the things they are used for--or if they don't, that the clash should mean something, preferably irony. Now, I know my grammar is far from flawless . . . but I think I can at least get some credit for style.
Here's what I think happened. My original piece had the book's title, Food Presentation, in between the "Although" and the "does." Whoever was editing it didn't want the title there and wanted to replace it with "book." But the previous sentence already has the word "book" in it, and he probably didn't want to overuse it; so he hit Shift+F7 on MS Word, got a list of words that included "tome," and made it the lucky pick.
(Go ahead. Open MS Word, type "book," press F7 while holding down the Shift key, and see what synonyms come up for you.)
Oh, yeah: they changed the linking verb after the "Tips and Inspiration" bit. I'm not even going to try explaining that one.
And now I realise that all of this sounds a lot like a self-entitled princess complaining about having been paid to write for another magazine. Perhaps I should keep my "Writing Diary" entries in one of those old-fashioned paper-based journals? =P I'm actually very happy to be a contributor to a magazine that has been around since the 80s, and one which I happened to read many back issues of while waiting for my mother's hair to get done at the beauty parlour. This is just one "writing adventure" I couldn't pass up the chance to blog.
It was also supposed to be the short introduction to a post about what I've learned from these three years of writing in magazines . . . but then it got too big for that and became a post of its own. When I get that other Writing Diary entry up, this one will be put in better perspective.
In the meantime, you should hear my friends drop "Tome" bombs at me whenever they feel like a quick laugh.
Image Source: Food Presentation: Tips and Inspiration by Michelle Valigursky