Happy Copyrighting!

I looked up January holidays and wacky observances—‘cause I like that kind of stuff—and I learned that today is Copyright Law Day. I had no idea we celebrated this. Did you? And, hey, Copyright Law is definitely something I appreciate! So, yay for copyrighting! And yay for everybody who remembers how to spell ‘copyright’ correctly. I don’t always. It’s like ‘sleight,’ as in ‘sleight of hand.’ I want to pronounce it “slayt.” I can’t help it. Or ‘bear’ in ‘bear with me.’ Isn’t that a grumpy animal that can kill you with one powerful swipe of his claw? Please don’t bear with me that way.

U.S. Copyright Law states that your work is your intellectual property. The law discourages the copying of your work, but it doesn’t enforce anything if it’s stolen. For this reason writers take the precautionary step of formally registering their manuscripts with the U.S. Copyright Office before they begin the query process. I’m not going to pretend to know what’s the best practice, but it seems to me that expenses could pile up if the writer decides to change the manuscript, say, 4,000 times. (I’m on my 1,346th draft—just thinking out loud here.) So, how does that work exactly? Do you just register manuscript amendments? [Amendment 53,602: Cedric is not the bad guy anymore. He was framed by Phyllis, who is now mentally unstable (see Amendment 49,979) due to the demise of her brother, Mark (see Amendment 49,733) when the Ferris Wheel exploded (see Amendment 12,022).]

It’s a risky business writing amazing things down that people can steal. *Sigh* It’s a risk I face daily. That brings me to a quote for the day: “With great imagination comes great delusion.” I hope nobody else said that. I’m thinking of copyrighting it.

In other news, Earth’s perihelion occurs at 11:00 p.m. tonight where I am! I’m going to celebrate it by sleeping.

The Conversation

“You were 126 a couple of months ago. Now you’re down to 123. It’s progress, sure, but it’s not enough. The goal is 114, remember?

“You know what? If you’ll work with me here, we can settle on 116. What about it? Is it a deal?”

(No response.)

“What can I do to make this an easy transition for you? Just name it.”

(Uncomfortable silence.)

“Come on! What will it take to get you down to 114K? And, yes, I’m taking back my offer of 116,000 words because you’re being stubborn!”

(The manuscript still refuses to budge.)

“Look, I’m on your side—I’ll always be on your side—but I have to look at this objectively. If I were asked to read a 123K manuscript for teens that I was reading cold, taking a chance on its writer, I’d probably pass.

“You know, the first Harry Potter book was only 77K.

“I’m rounding up.

A Wrinkle in Time was just under 50. Okay, so it’s true Eragon was 157 plus, but I want to err on the safe side, don’t you?

“Doesn’t it matter to you that you’re not published yet? Because it matters to me. I don’t want you to have to live in a box for the rest of your existence. Of course, I could always end your existence. I have that power, you know.”

(The tension is palpable.)

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. It’s just… I’m frustrated. I’ve been focused on you for quite sometime now. How long have we been together? Let me see… This September, it will be three years. Wow.

“It’s been fun, and I know it’s because I still like you–more than I did at the beginning. You bring out things in me I didn’t know were even there. Some of them are kind of embarrassing, but, all in all, I’m glad we’ve spent this time together.

“I’m not breaking up or anything. I mean, there are some other stories I’d really like to catch up with. Some of them were written before I ever started thinking about you. I feel bad that I’ve neglected them.

“Look, you’re still the one. You know that. It’s because so much about you is real, and it makes me feel fulfilled in some strange way; but then we come to these roadblocks. I admit, sometimes I question whether our relationship is healthy. What do you think? Is talking to you like this healthy?”

In trying to get this manuscript to cooperate, the words ‘wits end’ are ringing in my ears.

This *is* the Manuscript You Were Looking For

After looking over client lists of agents to get a taste of what literary agencies are endorsing, I’m thinking it’s time I learned the Jedi mind trick. Have you read some authors’ bios lately?

Initial. Initial. Smarmy was terminally ill from the age of two, which explains much of the philosophical trauma he endured as a child. In his teens, he established his own business, ‘Nightshade Window Treatments,’ from which a friendly cult began, dedicated to educating others about the advantages of poisonous vegetation. A part-time volunteer for the Association for the Beautification of Carnivorous Reptiles, he paints abstract portraits on crocodile teeth to help raise funds and awareness. He has a pet platypus that travels with him to book signings because ‘Curby’ won’t sleep unless he’s wrapped in Smarmy’s silk scarf. Smarmy always wears this scarf; it marks his triumph over his 14-year addiction to Ace of Base.

Okay, I would love to read this in a real bio. My own will include my short stint as a bad fortune-teller and my award for being the worst slob at camp. But I can’t compete. Padawan training, you are my only hope.