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Vapid PatterAugust 18, 2010

On the plane flying home from Orlando, I sat next to the awesome Carolyn Jewel (who had been up for not one but TWO Rita's (the Oscar of romance)), and while she wrote (or didn't write) a sexy scene (I was working so hard not letting my eyes accidentally fall on her laptop screen that now I don't remember what she said she was writing), I finished going over page proofs for HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME. Page proofs are awesome in that they are the very last time you'll lay hands on your book. This is it! You're pushing the baby bird right out into traffic!

And you always find some typos that have made it through your own editing, that make it past your agent and your editor, past copy-edits and all the way to this last draft. Now, say that I noticed things in my copy-edits that needed to be added, and say I wrote them in by hand to be changed. Now, it is NOT the production editor's job to decipher my sloppy handwriting (which I do try to make clear, I promise). They add to the text what they are told (by me) to add, and that's that. I take the blame for the below HYSTERICAL mistake.

When I read that my heroine had a vapid heartbeat, I almost choked on my peanuts. It's true, my Vs do look like Rs. I'd never noticed that before. A vapid heartbeat! Oh, lord! I've known people with one of those!

In another spot, I'd added a sentence about the pattern she'd been making. That R and N certainly smoosh up close in my handwriting, and the text read that she was knitting from a patter. (Both vapid and patter obviously passed the spell-check test.) (I just wrote "past the spell-check test." I am at word overload. Please forgive the other inevitable typos in this post as I mock myself.)

Carolyn and I started howling about vapid patter, to the point that she said, "Watch! I'm putting it in my book! Right now!" Clickety click click, and she did.  

So today, I put it in my third novel because it happened to fit beee-yoo-tifully (and Carolyn practically dared me to). (That novel is coming along smashingly, by the way. I keep expecting the other shoe to drop, but it seems to be going well so far. Yippee!)

When I get a copy of Carolyn's book, she'll sign the page with vapid patter on it. And I'll sign that page in her copy of MY book.

And I here and now challenge all y'all book-writers to sneak the phrase in. It's now A Thing. Anyone who does it will get a shiny badge WITH GLITTER from me. Promise. (And when you read book three and hit that phrase, you'll think, "Huh? That sounds awfully familiar...")

Pass it on! Quick link to this post: http://bit.ly/a9Z5CJ



I love it!! Awesome!! I will work on putting it my MS!!

Oh my gosh. I can't believe I have to wait until 2011 to find out if I get my badge. . . The phrase really did fit well. Here's hoping my vapid patter survives revisions and copy-edits!

Wait. That came out sounding wrong.

I need glitter. I REALLY need a badge with glitter.

P.S. I was more worried about the people behind me reading my screen, because, yeah, I was working on a hot scene and I was worried they would think I was a perv.

does it count if it's in a knitting pattern? I'm sure I could work it in to the cowl. Maybe that should be what it's called!

@Lorajean, you would totally get a badge for that. :)

Please run -- don't walk! -- to YouTube and watch Taylor Mali's poem, "The The Impotence of Proofreading". It's hilariously similar to what you're talking about.


Fine. Now I have to find a way to insert it into a non-fiction book about ethnic knitting. Oh... wait... I just figured out how and where (and I almost typed "how and wear" - whatever you've got must be contagious!)

Somehow I don't think I'm going to be able to work "vapid patter" into any of the dry gov't documents I write that are reviewed by several layers of people above me. But I'll try!

Alas I'm not writing a book. But when I do...

Meanwhile, have you succumbed to the barking dog? Google "somewhere a dog barked" and read the Slate article. It's fascinating.

Actually, there's a scene I'm working on that will be strengthened by the protagonist noticing others' vapid patter -- thanks!

As I've gotten older, I leave out more and more letters in my handwriting (and as I type this, I notice I do it in my typing as well). Any word that ends in "ing" comes out with just "g". Like Writg or Readg or Spellg. Anyone tryg to decipher my handwritg is in for a frustratg time.

I think I can work vapid patter into my comment. And I'm a frequent participant in vapid patter, especially of the complaining type.

Ha ha ha, great. Does it count if you put "vapid patter" in a short story? I know just the section to put it in, too!

Well, I don't write much more than shopping lists -- do you think I could get some at the market? (Maybe at the checkout . . . )

Vapid patter, huh? Okay, let's see what I can do ... (sounds of clicks and whirrs as MS Word opens my mss).

Done. Sort of. On a much smaller scale than a novel. Check it out:


I loved the YouTube video that Nadia suggested.

And thanks, Robynn. Now I'm gonna be looking for barking dogs in everything I read, too.

You know, Rach, your readers rock! (If I do say so myself.)

I've just pre-ordered "How to Knit a Heart Back Home" from Amazon ... can't wait to find out how knit from a vapid patter LOL

Does it count if I work vapid patter into my blog posts? I've been accused of worse, goodness knows! It's either this, or I'll have to fit it into a knitting book - but even that might be possible! :)

Too funny.....well, no novel in the works to insert vapid patter....however will definately try working it into conversation in L&D this week...lots of vapid patter going on there sometimes. Thinkin' of you!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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