This is the story of three elves: Beatrice, the “overflowing with too many ideas,” writer, Maxie, her “details, just give me the details,” copyeditor, and Ginger, her “sharp as a tack, eyes like an eagle,” proofreader.
At one end of a very long, marble table sits Beatrice, who is just finishing a third draft of her manuscript, “Santa’s Elves Steal Christmas, ” a.k.a “Santa’s Elves Take Back the Night.” She loves being a writer because she can spew out all her ideas without worrying (at least not too much), whether or not “who or whom” is being used correctly as in on page 100, which reads:
“Santa was found sleeping with whom???” asked Rudolph.
(Or should it be who??? Hmmmm. Maxie will know for sure.)
Or whether, on page 67, her mentioning that “in 1982 Santa decided to skip Christmas altogether because of excruciating pain caused by kidney stones,” is a provable fact on wikipedia.
Or if on page 23, when she first refers to Santa’s elves as “cheap labor,” and then later, on page 50 as “aficionados” might be a problem for the reader.
No. Beatrice rests assured that her relentlessly reliable copyeditor Maxie, sitting at the middle of table, will take her manuscript and make sure that all of the above will be properly scrutinized, as well as confirming she has spelled her words correctly. (Beatrice can never remember if the word recommendation has two c’s or two m’s, but Maxie will for sure!). And when she is being emphatic, as in “Santa Skipped Christmas.”, Maxie will make sure she uses an exclamation point, and not a boring old period.
He might read a sentence that he believes doesn’t flow as in, “Mrs. C. tried to get Mr. C to lay off red meat. Mrs. C. gave him kale. He absolutely loves red meat.” He may recommend (Is that spelled right? Better make sure I spell check before sending this off) that Beatrice change it to, “Mrs. C tried to get Mr. C to lay off red meat, which he absolutely loves. She offered him kale instead.”
But Beatrice has been know to be a bit stubborn, so we’ll see if she takes Maxie’s recommendation.
Now when Maxie is finished, the manuscript will move into the last phase of the washing cycle, the spin cycle if you will. Ginger, who sits at the opposite end of the table, could care less if things flow or don’t flow. She wants the manuscript to look presentable, just like her matching elfin green hat, coat and shoes. She will review the text in such a way that may seem like she is not actually reading it all, and might miss the deeper meaning of things.
“If I want deep, I’ll watch Oprah,” she says.
She will place her GIGANTIC magnifying glass over her miniscule right eye, and look for glaring punctuation problems. She may even mark up the pages and margins using her secret agent proofreader marks (which Beatrice absolutely hates).
Ginger loves rules and wants everyone to follow them, especially Beatrice. As in, always put a comma after the adverb therefore, when a semi-colon precedes it so that the thoughts are connected.
Beatrice could care less about these rules, or any rules for that matter, which is why she has written this “tell-all tale,” about Santa, Mrs. C, and his mistress Vixen—no not the reindeer, but the woman that fourth reindeer is secretly named after.
Ginger will give it the last look over, making sure there are no glaring mistakes, and that the final, overall presentation is PERFECT. Once Ginger gives it her OK, (which doesn’t happen so easily) and Beatrice begrudgingly incorporates the changes, it’s off to the printer. And Maxie and Ginger eagerly wait for Beatrice to deliver yet another steamy story that they can sink their elfin webbed hands into.