Overworked and Underpaid Editor put down her evil red pen and took off her glasses. Pinching the bridge of her nose, she let out a heavy sigh. She looked over at her secretary, the unreliable beagle, who was stirring a frothy margarita with her delicately painted pink toenail. “I’ve had it. I’ve read five partials this week, and all of them are overloaded with the usual suspects: POV switches, adverb-a-tosis, flat, mundane characters, and tell vs. show. I’m spent. It’s not that adverbs, for instance, are bad. But a truckload is horrible. Same goes for show vs. tell. You can’t show everything; sometimes you really need to simply tell it. It’s about balance, and I see way too many works that lack balance.”

The beagle licked her nail and stretched luxuriously on Underpaid’s desk. “Know what you need?”

“A lobotomy?”

“That’s always a good idea. But, no, silly. You need something to make you laugh, to lighten your load. You need…”

Underpaid gasped. “No, don’t say it…”

“…a song!”

Underpaid slunk down in her chair as the beagle busied herself shoving the keyboard, monitor, and piles of unread submissions off to the side. She handed Underpaid the half-drunk margarita and hit the On button of her iPod. Within seconds, the background music of Aretha Franklin’s “RESPECT” filled the office as the beagle grabbed Underpaid’s evil red pen and used it as a microphone. She began strutting across the desk, juttin’ and a-jivin’.

Oh dear god, Underpaid thought, the beagle is going to sing.

(oo) You’re all Tell
(oo) Baby, you got it
(oo) What you need
(oo) Is to add more show now!
(oo) All I’m askin’
(oo) Is for a little  balance when you write (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you wriiiite
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

I ain’t gonna do you wrong while I’m editin’
I’ll fix your punctuation (oo) with my little red pen (oo)
All I’m askin’ (oo)
Is for a little balance to your story (just a little bit)
Baby (with my little pen) baaaalance (with my little pen)
Yeah (with my little pen)

I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me fewer adverbs
And one POV per scene (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
And one POV (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

Authors should know what it means to me

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little balance (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little balance (just a little bit)

The beagle finished, tossed the evil red pen down, grabbed the margarita and took a long, stiff drink. Smacking her beagle lips, she curled up on Underpaid’s desk and closed her eyes. “There now,” she said before dozing off, “I bet you feel all shades of better, eh?”

“I feel all shades of something,” Underpaid mumbled.

**abject apologies to Aretha Franklin – the beagle knows not what horrors she’s capable of committing while under the influence of tequila

One Response to B-a-l-a-n-c-e

  1. CatWake says:

    Totally inspiring. 😉

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