12/15/06

Editeditedit

I've had grammar edits on the brain of late because of Serenade. Poor sentence construction, lousy verb choices, and hideous dialogue tags are all on my chopping block.

While reading one of the girls' storybooks today, my editor brain would not leave off. Raised on guck like this, no wonder writers have such a difficult time honing the craft of language! Not only is it hackneyed and plain, the grammar is terrible.

Here, verbatim, is the text from Clarie Black's 2004 adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as published by Berryland Books. After editing for was, were & had, passive voice, dialogue tags, paragraph structure, capitalization, repetitive words, misplaced modifiers, and comma usage, I included my version.

Once upon a time there was a Queen who was very happy because she was about to have her first baby. One day, as she sat sewing, she pricked her finger. A drop of blood fell onto the snow and she noticed how pretty it looked.
Once upon a time, a happy queen awaited the birth of her first baby. As she sat sewing, she pricked her finger with a needle. She noticed how pretty the blood looked where it landed in the snow.

Soon the Queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She had skin as white as snow, so the Queen decided to call her Snow White. Sadly, the Queen died shortly after giving birth.
The queen gave birth to a beautiful girl. She decided to name the child Snow White because of her lovely white skin. Sadly, the queen died shortly thereafter.

Snow White was a very happy little girl and grew up to be kind and helpful. After some time, the King married again and the new Queen was wicked. She treated Snow White very badly.
Snow White grew to become a happy, kind, and helpful young woman. Her father, the king, married again. The new queen proved wicked, treating Snow White badly.

The Queen had a magic mirror and every morning she would stand in front of it and ask, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" The mirror would reply, "You, oh Queen, are the fairest of them all."
The wicked queen owned a magic mirror. Every morning, she stood in front of the glass and asked, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

"You, oh queen, are the fairest of them all," the mirror replied.

Then, one day the mirror replied, "Snow White is the fairest of the all!" The Queen was furious.

She sent for a huntsman and ordered him to take Snow White deep into the forest and kill her. To make sure that he did this, the Queen gave him a box in which to bring back her heart.
One day, however, the mirror changed its answer. "Snow White is the fairest of them all!"

Furious, the queen sent for a huntsman. She ordered him to take Snow White far into the forest and kill her. To make sure the huntsman performed the deed, the queen gave him a box in which to place Snow White's heart.

The kind huntsman was frightened of the wicked Queen, but he loved Snow White. So he thought of a plan to save her. He led Snow White into the forest and told her the Queen's wishes. He asked Snow White to run away and never return to the palace.

The huntsman then killed a deer and took out its heart to give to the Queen. The Queen was delighted.
Although frightened of the queen, the kind huntsman loved Snow White. With a plan to save the young princess, he led Snow White into the forest. There, he revealed the queen's evil command.

"Run away," he said. "Never return to the palace!"

After Snow White ran deeper into the forest, the huntsman killed a deer. He removed its heart and gave it to the delighted queen.

Meanwhile, Snow White ran deeper into the forest. It was beginning to get very dark and she was lost and scared. Luckily, some animals who had been watching, came over to help her.

They led Snow White to a little house. She knocked on the door, but nobody answered.
Meanwhile, lost and scared, Snow White wandered in the dark woods. Kind animals helped to lead her to the safety of a little house. No one answered when she knocked.

She pushed the door open and peeped inside. "What a nice little house this is, but everything is such a mess!" she said.
She pushed open the door and peeped inside. "What a nice little house," she said. "But everything is such a mess!"

Snow White thought that if she cleaned up the little house, perhaps she would be allowed to stay. She washed the floors, dusted the furniture, made the beds and cooked a lovely meal. All the animals helped her and soon the place was sparkling clean.
Snow White decided to clean the house, hoping that its owners would admire her hard work and allow her to stay. She washed the floors, dusted the furniture, made the beds, and cooked a lovely meal. The animals helped, and soon the place sparkled.

Snow White felt very tired and quickly fell asleep. Evening came and out of the forest seven little dwarfs appeared. They were returning to their little home after a busy day working in the mines.

"There's a light coming from our home!" one of the dwarfs shouted. The dwarfs crept up to the little house and looked inside.
Tired from her chores, Snow White fell asleep as evening came. Seven dwarfs appeared from the forest, returning home after a busy day of work in the mines.

One of the dwarfs stopped. "There's a light coming from out home!"

What a surprise they got! The house was so clean and tidy. Upstairs they found a beautiful princess sleeping on their beds!

At first they were frightened, but when Snow White woke up they realized how sweet and kind she was. From that day onwards, Snow White lived happily with the seven dwarfs.
They crept to the house. Looking inside, they found the house clean and tidy--a wonderful surprise! Upstairs, they discovered a beautiful princess asleep on their beds. She frightened them at first. However, when Snow White awoke, they realized her kindness and asked her to stay as their guest.

Back at the palace, the Queen stood in front of her magic mirror and asked, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" To her surprise the mirror replied, "Snow White is still the fairest of them all. She lives in the forest with the seven dwarfs."
In the palace, the queen stood before her magic mirror. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

To her surprise, the mirror replied, "Snow White is still the fairest of them all. She lives in the forest with seven dwarfs."

The Queen was furious and she decided to use her evil powers on Snow White. She turned herself into an old woman and mixed together a poisonous potion.

Next, the Queen dropped an apple into the poison and it came out a rosy red. Then she placed the apple in a basket and went into the forest to find Snow White.
Enraged, the queen decided to use her evil powers on Snow White. She transformed into an old woman and mixed a poisonous potion. The apple she dropped into the poison turned a rosy red color. She tucked the apple in a basket and walked into the forest.

Very soon the Queen arrived at the little house and knocked on the door. Snow White answered and invited the old lady to come in and sit down. "Please let me give you something for being so kind," said the Queen and she offered Snow White the poisoned apple.
The queen arrived at the dwarfs' cabin and knocked on the door. Snow White answered. "Please come in and sit down," said the princess.

"You are kind, child," said the queen. She offered Snow White the poisoned apple. "Please, let me give you this gift."

"Thank you," said Snow White. She bit into the apple and instantly fell to the floor. "Now at last, I am the fairest of them all!" screeched the wicked Queen.
"Thank you." She bit into the apple and fell to the floor.

With a screech, the wicked queen revealed herself. "Now I am the fairest of them all!"

That evening, the dwarfs returned to find Snow White lying on the floor. They placed her body in a glass coffin and took turns to watch over her. A young prince heard about the beautiful princess in the glass coffin and rode into the forest to find her.
That evening, the dwarfs returned to the cabin and found Snow White lying on the floor. They placed her body in a glass coffin and watched over her.

A young prince heard about a beautiful princess in a glass coffin. Curious, he rode into the forest to find her.

The minute the Prince set eyes upon Snow White, he fell in love with her. He opened the lid of the glass coffin. As he lifted her body, the piece of poisoned apple, which had been stuck in her throat, fell away.

Snow White woke up and instantly fell in love with the Prince. Soon afterwards, they were married and lived happily ever after, together with the seven dwarfs.
The minute he set eyes on Snow White, he fell in love with her. He opened the lid of the glass coffin and lifted her body. The piece of poisoned apple that had been stuck in her throat fell away.

Snow White opened her eyes and fell in love with the prince. They married soon afterward. Together, they lived happily ever after with the seven dwarfs.

2 comments:

Tess said...

It amazes me how bad some children's books are. Did this one at least have nice pictures?

carrie_lofty said...

Snow White looked like a 60s Bond girl dressed up like a gypsy...