“Twisted!”

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Okay, here’s the situation. I send my stories, to a professional editor before I send them out. I was a prof of English for years, but I still need the extra pair of eyes. So, my editor and I have a great working relationship. I respect her judgment 99.9 percent of the time. It’s that one tenth percent that I wish to talk about today.

I have a story I wish to send out very soon. The time frame of the narrative is 1963. Here’s the section in question:

Across the road on the ball field, coaches knocked long fly balls to the outfielders. A chain of yellow buses turned off the far road and headed toward the school. One of the teachers flipped his cigarette to the pavement and ground it out beneath his shoe. Another teacher started doing a mock of the Twist.

My editor suggests that I change the final sentence to:

Another teacher doing a mock dance of the Twist.

My editor noted that “we can’t assume readers will know what this is.” By “this” she meant “the Twist.”

Now, I intend to incorporate her suggestion and put in “dance.”  But, what I would like to know is: Are our readers, i.e., twenty-five and younger, really unaware of Chubby Checker’s hit song “The Twist” that came out in 1960?

My next question is have you ever felt the need to add information to your narrative to support the possible lack of knowledge, cultural or otherwise of your readers? How far do we go with this sort of thing?

8 thoughts on ““Twisted!”

  1. Deb

    I knew instantly that you were speaking of the dance, however I am more than double the age of 25 so I would…who is your audience for this book? Will under 25ers be reading it? If so then sadly they probably won’t know that The Twist was a dance just as we don’t know things from their genre that they would roll their eyes at and sigh…After I posted a few blogs and received comments from people of other cultures it was clear to me that some writings do get “lost in translation” I think it’s all a matter of, do you feel strongly that your writing is being compromised by making these adjustments? When you do that’s when you don’t make them, when you don’t then make them. Hope this helps…

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Oh thank you so much. It’s a story for 25 and up but 25 down to 15 could read and enjoy it…I think. I didn’t write it as a YA story but I believe that’s how it’s interpreted by would be publishers.
      At any rate, you are right I do believe. I’ll be 67 in December and of course I feel like 40. It’s hard to realize that half your history is a total blank to a large population in your own culture…but yeah it’s true. It ‘s like the time I spoke to my 90’s freshman composition about the world of the 60’s. On a questionnaire to get discussion going I asked the question: How would you define the term “draft-dodger”? And one student wrote: “A draft-dodger is someone who doesn’t want to play pro ball.” It was one of those moments when a sense of humor really helps! lol

      Thanks again. I feel better.

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      1. Deb

        LOL that’s funny, did you give him/her extra credit!! I’m so happy I could be of help…I know what you mean though in my mind I’m 25…but the days of 45’s and record-players are long gone…but always remember as they say…we’re not getting older we’re getting better, and actually so is technology, but there are just some things that you don’t want to let go…I always say I wish it was today like it was in the 1950’s that seems to me like the best decade!! Happy writing!!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. ruminationville

    Here are my two cents: I prefer the lean “a mock of the Twist.” The fact that you’ve capitalized “Twist” makes all the difference–and the reader can look it up! Did TS Eliot feel compelled to explain his esoterc allusions in “The Waste Land”? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Ah Leslie, how good it is to have met you in Blogville! Your sentiments are mine exactly. I have always felt that the publishing world panders to ignorance and outright laziness way too much. Hell, you can Google “Twist” and get a response it one second. How difficult is that? Thank you for giving me the needed shove to keep the text as it was! Of course I still need to get the story published….But I do believe in it and so it will get published! Hah!
      Again, thanks.Your two cents has purchased a great deal of confidence.

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  3. dweezer19

    For what it’s worth (my opinion)I don’t agree with your editor. As long as you capitalize The Twist, it will be set apart as something iconic and a) younger people who are unaware will easily look it up on their smart devices and b) older generations will know something so highly publicized, musically inclined or not. Perhaps a few more descriptive words regarding the teacher’s body movements might offer a bit more of a clue. Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with your sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

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