Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Holy Jump, Batman!

Sharon Wildwind

Way back in the fall of 2007 I wrote about my home-grown editing abbreviations: VAD (use violence as dialog); VSOP (very special old port); STSS (stop telling, start showing); PNS (perfectly nice syndrome); and WBL (what body language?). If any of those intrigue you, check the blog archive for late September and early October of that year.

This evening I was at a critique group. One of the women had written this symbol in the margin of another person’s work. I asked her what it was. “That’s the bat-signal.” Fortunately, I knew about the special search light that Commissioner Gordon uses to tell Batman and Robin that there is an emergency.

She uses it whenever the writer had changed conversation topics abruptly, as in, “I think going to the flea market on Saturday is a great idea. Did you know Mrs. Toliver was found dead yesterday?” It means, “Holy Jump, Batman!”

Which distracted us from doing critiques to making up other symbols that will probably never make it into the Chicago Manual of Style.

The Doctor’s TARDIS. It means, “Time Warp,” like having a character refer to a Beatles tune they heard in the 1950s.

An alien spaceship, meaning “The only thing that can save this scene is aliens landing on the lawn.”
Not all of them have to be negative.
This would work for “Beautiful scene. Well done.”
“Leaves a lasting impression.”

And our old favorite - Writer’s Block.
Improbably Coincidence
Woman in dark basement with no flashlight or cell phone

I think we're on to something here. This could be the beginning of a whole new system of proof-reading marks. Thanks to the people who gave ideas. If you have a proof-reading mark you'd like to see added, send me e-mail. I'll do the best I can with my limited (but growing) artistic ability.
Quote for the week

One of the things you do as a writer and as a filmmaker is grasp for resonant symbols and imagery without necessarily fully understanding it yourself.
~ Christopher Nolan, British-American film director, screenwriter and producer, well known for his [Batman] Dark Knight Trilogy


Anonymous said...

This is charming and verrry brainy! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Implausible coincidence would be a good one, Sharon. Also TSTL: can you reduce a damsel in a dark cellar with no flashlight or cell phone to a few strokes of the pen--fewer strokes than "TSTL" itself?

Sandra Parshall said...

Sharon -- LOL In our increasingly graphics-oriented world, I think you're onto something.

Anonymous said...

How about these, Elizabeth? I do have another set of eyes, more rounded, but I liked the eyelashes on this one.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I love these!