Writing (and Editing) What You Know

I have two specialties in life: respiratory therapy and balloons, so my stories contain many references to them. Having married a history buff, I learned about the Depression and World War II. After growing up in an Italian family, I can make anginettipizzelles, stuffed olives, and other goodies. I’ve been to the Italian Market. So when Michael De Stefano sent me Waiting for Grandfather, I thought editing would be straightforward. Waiting for Grandfather is a tragic comedy featuring an Italian family preparing a surprise birthday party for their patriarch.

Ah, but most of the major characters think, dream, and play baseball. They can recite baseball scores from years ago by heart. Yours truly doesn’t know squat about baseball. The best thing to do is to consult someone who specializes in the subject. Instead, I went and consulted every article on Google to see how scores are written. I happen to be literal. If you try to teach me new equipment and mention a part called a balloon, I’d start thinking about my Mylar balloons, and that would end the lesson. So the baseball terminology made no sense either, and that’s not something Professor Google can explain.

My poverty in understanding resulted in some interesting edits on the baseball scenes. Thankfully, Michael had a sense of humor, and he rejected the baseball edits, easy enough to do with Word’s tracking feature. Going forward, if an author sends me a tale featuring a sports-loving character, Michael offered to help with what I didn’t know.

You’ve got to have a sense of humor to narrate the interactions between the Corelli family members. The father, who is a frustrated plumber, uses plumbing analogies when he describes ballplayers. The grand-uncles get into one scrape after another, and their oldest brother, Grandfather, has to bail them out. The story spans from the 30s through the modern day.   

I owe a lot of thanks to the folks at Small Publisher’s Talk, a group on Facebook, for their guidance in designing a cover. I had a rough time with the lettering for the cover until author John Green from the group came to my rescue. With that in mind, I’m delighted to present Waiting for Grandfather, now available on Amazon.

family comedy by Michael De Stefano

About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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6 Comments

  1. Barbara, you hit it out of the ball park with this post! I love basketball, particularly, the Sixers, but comprehending rules of the other sports is hard for me. I love how you explained your editing process, and the cover is wonderful. Good luck with this book!

  2. Yes when working with history you have to get it right or as right as you possibly can. Even our memories of events that happened in our own lives can become distorted by time.Apart from bush walking and fishing, I have absolutely no understanding of sport. More and more, however, I have come to understand flight and why it fascinates some people. Nowadays I have wildlife photography as a hobby and that includes photographing birds. Flight will appear more and more in my writing. My dad loved wildlife and I suppose that’s also in my genes. Sometimes I wish I could love a sport but that’s not likely to happen. Good luck to Michael.

    • Thanks so much for the good wishes. I never could understand sports – it’s like trying to decipher new technology. I used to go deep-sea fishing but had to quit after having the hand surgeries. However, some folks do, so it’s good for me to have a reference if I edit a sports-related story. Barbara of the Balloons

  3. Thank you for mentioning John Green. Best of luck with the book!
    P.S. I don’t know anything about baseball either!

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