FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 27, 2009

compare and contrast!

So, it's 11:30pm and I'm about to start writing my column for AMC, which is due in the morning. Though I'm kicking myself in the BEhind for starting it so late, it happens every week so I shouldn't be surprised. The topic for this week (ooh, top secret!) has me trawling through my archives in search of the title of a movie I've written about in the past. Said trawling has brought about this Final Girl post, which I'll call Ancient History Regarding the First Time I Was Edited Severely for an Article I Was Asked to Write and How the Results Made Me Want to Kill Myself and No It's Not Something I Wrote for AMC and Yes I Should Be Over It and I Mostly Am Although Reading It Again Brought Up Residual Feelings of "What the FUCK?" and I Probably Shouldn't Even Do This Post But I'm Going to Anyway Because I Feel Like Sharing So There.

The article in question I was asked to write- I stress this because it indicates to me that the editor was at least aware of my writing "style", which is perhaps a bit unconventional as it was born and bred exclusively on this here blog where I am THE BOSS OF ME- was to be a piece about lesbians and Halloween and all the...I don't know, getting the lesbian chocolate in the Halloween peanut butter or whatever. You know what I mean. Like, what horror movies feature lesbos? and that sort of thing. It took me forever to write that damn article, and when I saw the finished product online, well, let's just say that steam came out of my ears. In fact, steam probably came out of most, if not all, of my orifices.

You know, I was going to delete that last sentence because it's really gross and perhaps mostly untrue, but I'm tired and I have a long night ahead of me and at the moment I find it amusing so it stays.

Onward to the worthless past-dredging-uppening! Here are the opening two paragraphs I wrote:
If you’re anything at all like me, then Halloween trumps all as the most wonderful time of the year (that’s right- in your face, Escalator Safety Awareness Week!). There are scary movies on TV ad nauseum, cheap horror DVDs appear in the unlikeliest places (I picked up Salem’s Lot at my grocery store; it was displayed next to the frozen pizzas, and for just a moment I thought maybe I’d somehow passed into The Great Beyond and didn’t know it), and there are rubber-n-cardboard decorations everywhere. Walking past fake cobwebs on my way to find the Q-Tips makes me feel like my local CVS is haunted, I swear. “Mayhaps it was built on an Indian burial ground!” I say to myself, often followed by something like “Ooh look! My shampoo is on sale. Thank you, kind spirits of the underworld!”

Also, if you’re anything like me you can’t eat raisins for too long because after a while you start thinking that they’re not really fruit at all- they’re actually bug bodies- and you get grossed out. That, however, is a discussion for another time. We’re here talk about how you- yes, you!- can make this the most leztastic Halloween ever! I mean, above and beyond bobbing for fanny packs and eating Peppermint Patties until you burst, even.
I mean, it's certainly not the greatest thing ever written (that honor belongs to the novelization of the film 9 to 5, or at least so I thought when I was a wee bonny lass and I saw the paperback in the grocery store and I just had to have it), but it's definitely Final Girl-flavored. is what those paragraphs were turned into for publication:
If you’re a horror fan like me, then Halloween trumps all as the most wonderful time of the year. Sure, there are plenty of awful movies out there, but I'm an optimist when it comes to horror films. I simply love a good scare and the adrenaline rush it provides. Even better? There are tons of horror flicks (and a few TV shows) with lesbians in them.

That's why I've put together this handy guide to lesbians and bisexual women in horror.

From the tried and true (Buffy, of course!) to the rare and scary (Robert Wise's The Haunting, for instance) and everything in between (including an almost-forgotten appearance by Amanda Bearse in Fright Night), this guide takes you beyond the lesbian vampire and into the gory world of murdered sorority girls, slumber party massacres and lesbian camping trips gone very, very bad.

So light up your jack-o-lanterns and get your spooky punch ready, because now you can make this the Best. Lesbian. Halloween. Ever.

See? That's what'll get ya steaming orifices. There are words- sentences- WHOLE FUCKING PARAGRAPHS- there that I did not write. "Spooky punch"? Spooky fucking punch? I would never in a million years type those words except for right there where I typed them to make the point that I would never type them.

What's the point of posting this when the article in question is well over a year old and isn't it a little ungracious or unprofessional or something besides? None! There is no point whatsoever! Except that apparently it's a pain that will never ever leave me, much like The Clap. Not that I have The Clap or even know, really, what it is- is it short for chlamydia?- and whether or not it is, in fact, painful. It's just that no one really talks about The Clap anymore, and I think that's a shame.

Yet another shame is the fact that I've now spent half an hour writing this diatribe instead of what I'm supposed to be writing. Damn you, old ire!

Note: posting a picture of this dog in a Halloween costume in a post about an article about the phenomena known as "Lesbian Halloween" does not mean that I'm insinuating that this dog is a lesbian. First, I don't even know if it has a vagina- as Yoda is male, I would assume the dog is also male. Then again, in first grade I dressed up as The Incredible Hulk for Halloween, and the last time I checked (earlier today) I'm a female. Of course, if the dog is a lesbian, that's perfectly fine.

Note the second: I "checked" my "femaleness" by attempting to do some math (I failed miserably) and I spent some time just nagging in a general sort of way. Viva la femme!


Anonymous said...

Editors am evil.

Natazzz said...

This post makes me feel much better about how any of my writing has ever been edited.

It also makes me wonder how much other articles get edited, because it's uncanny how much the style of those revised paragraphs is similar to many other articles.

Anonymous said...

Hi, um. Not to bum you out about plagiarism again but I googled the edited bit (for context! I swear! Or maybe, you know, curiosity about which editor would make such a fucking bad job on what you wrote) and found this entire post replicated here:

I'm guessing you don't have some kind of "Feminist blog" syndication thing going on. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

Anonymous said...

I can remember reading the novelization for "Encino Man" and not being able to put it down. I was all like, "there's more here that wasn't in the movie!"

Oh, and my friend's girlfriend called me and made me tell him that she has the clap.

(Please don't edit me)

Anonymous said...

I kinda want to read the article now , even though it resulted in orifice steam.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Quite a difference. Needless to say, your original version was way better.

Anonymous said...

The first version had spunk.

The second version kind of read like something out of a college newspaper.

And really, spooky punch? SPOOKY PUNCH?

Librarian Russ said...

That is horrible! "gone very, very bad"? "Best. Lesbian. Halloween. Ever."? Fucking "Sure, there are plenty of awful movies out there, but I'm an optimist when it comes to horror films."?

It's a good thing you're an optimist, otherwise you wouldn't like horror films or be writing about them? Basically that sentence is saying, "Look, I know horror films are complete shit and a total waste of time, but I have this obnoxious thing about me where I just can't stop giving them another shot to not be quite so, you know, icky."

Sophia Al-Maria said...

nagging in a general sort of way keeps ma tits straight.

Stacie Ponder said...

Chainsaw- yeah, I've seen that site before...they pinch articles from all over the place. I've left comments, I sent emails to the email on their contact page, with no results. I have no idea what to do.

It's some sort of broken English's so bizarre. From their ABOUT page:

"This website is an assemblage place for girls. Its every most girls. is the prizewinning abstract that ever happened in the chronicle of a woman"


Tiny- Well, I've said before that I'm "optimistic" when it comes to horror movies, meaning that I hope that every new one I see will be the best one I've EVER seen. I explained that theory and how it related to Class Reunion Massacre (which featured a lesbian character) in a lengthy paragraph, but that entire paragraph was excised and that small turn of phrase obviously inserted elsewhere.

Oh, and Best. Lesbian. Halloween. Ever. was the name of the article (which was decided before I was hired)- I just didn't work it into the article myself.

Michael- it's a rather informative article, if I do say so myself. Bland as all get out, but informative!

Sophia- Straight tits are the greatest gift a woman can give to humankind, so I say nag away.

Craig Blamer said...

Bobbing for fanny packs? I've never heard that euphemism before... not sure I need a visual on it.

I suppose I've been lucky as a writer... the only (memorable) time I've had an editor make steam come out of my orifices was when one decided to add to a piece I wrote on Motörhead, that the band took their name from their extracurricular activities... working on old cars.

Which on the 'tubes makes me look like the dorkieset Motörhead fan evah. Which takes some effort.

AE said...

Reading the second version makes my teeth hurt. I'm an editor and I always worry (being female and all) about impinging on the writer's style. Your example made me feel much better about all the work I've ever done, ever. Thanks, Stacie! (I might save this to read back to angry reporters in the future. "Oh yeah? Well, listen to the kind of thing I could have done...")

Alana Noel Voth said...

This begs the question why a publication would ask a writer with a distinctive voice to write a piece for them and then edit the voice the fuck out of the thing? What they should have done was tell you, "We'd like you to write this Halloween piece for us but not sound like yourself."

Anyway, editorial BS. I've vowed not to work with a couple specific editors again, as well as a specific publishing house.

Which reminds me. Eons ago, like ten years, an editor at Playgirl rewrote the ending of my story without mentioning it. You know, I just got my contributor copy in the mail and then found out.

I remained insulted for six months, but by then, the magazine's entire editorial staff had changed and one of the new editors sent me an email specifying, "Less narrative, more sex!" So my time with them was over anyway.

For the record, to date, my favorite editors to work with are Richard Labonte & Shanna Germain.


Anonymous said...

It looks like they just wanted the list of movies because they themselves didn't know shit about horror movies and where they might find lesbians in them. After they got your list (which I'd be curious to see) they just plugged in the intro they always meant to publish.

..oh..and surprisingly enough "The Clap" isn't Chlamydia like you'd expect...oddly enough it's Ghonneria. It's bacterial, not viral, so you can get rid of it. It hurts when you pee until you go and get some penecillin and then it's gone forever....

..errr..or so a friend told me.


TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

One hand clapping, do you. Hmm? Hmm. Of what is the sound?

Steven Altis said...

All I can say is that if someone handed me a cup of something and told me to drink it and I asked them "What is this stuff" and they told me that it was "Spooky fucking punch" then I would drink it all up and ask for some more, please. So when Jones Soda's "Spooky Fucking Punch" hits the shelves at Target next Hallowe'en you should just go ahead and take credit for it and a least make a little residuals money for your pain.

kindertrauma said...

This post has been in my head all day. At Kindertrauma we do have to edit folks a bit sometimes for length or clarity and it kills me each time. The last thing I would ever want to do though is put words into somebody else's mouth. The idea makes me a tad crazy and frankly, I thought there were laws against it. You have every right to still be experiencing the steam. Plus, they threw out a perfectly good lesbian peppermint patty reference? Now that is just wasteful!

EFC said...

Damn. I thought that article was your best work, and now you're telling us that you didn't even write it? ;)

Spooky punch tastes just like Tropical Flavor Kool-Aid, btw.

Unknown said...

I feel you about editors.

However, if it makes you feel any better, your original write-up on "lesbian horror" got me so much more in the mood for Halloween than that awful second "editor-enhanced" one.

Now I have to wait another 9 months for Halloween...

Stacie Ponder said...

Thanks for The Clap clarification, BloodPepsi...I hope your "friend" is fine and dandy now. I suppose the nickname for chlamydia would be The Clam, although conjures up something else entirely.

As far as I'm concerned, Moviezzz, every week is Escalator Safety Awareness Week!

Unk, I'm glad you noticed my sly Peppermint Patty reference...I was hoping someone would! :D I'm all for editing for grammar, clarity...basically all the things you mentioned. But completely rewriting something seems a bit out of line. Why not at least make suggestions and then allow ME to rewrite? It makes no sense. Stuff getting cut hurts (the ego, anyway), but seeing boring, crappy words that I didn't even write attributed to me makes...well, steam.

By the way, I'm going to go back in time to the 80s and release an album- an aerobics-style cash-in on Olivia Newton John's Physical called Experiencing the Steam.

The real question, Ryne, is- did the article get you in the mood for lesbians? :D

FatalPierce said...

I had the exact same thought as BloodPepsi. About the article, not the clap. I umm, wouldn't know anything about the veedee... where was I?

Oh yeah, Its like they just wanted a list. It makes no sense to hire someone with such a distinct style and then completely edit the style out. Good editing is invisible editing!

Anonymous said...

How can you not be hip to the groove of Spooky Punch? Crikey, next you’ll dissin Scary Bread.

Unknown said...

I must admit I'm pretty interested in reading the original article. Sure, it's about lesbians, and we all know homosexuals make baby Jesus cry, but I'm willing to possibly burn in hell to get your insights on women-on-women in horror...

As one who writes for marketing (the most evil, yet a fun form of writing) I've never had a good relationship with an editor. I understand their job makes them the evil person from the get-go, but still. I can appreciate a space problem and needing to roll it back, but then there is losing the whole point. I can't even count the number of times I've had something re-written to ensure the editor understands it, even if the piece might be going to doctors who, on average, have a higher IQ than my editor and myself combined...

Anonymous said...

I’ve just realised that my Scary Bread joke probably made no sense. I thought Fairy Bread was a universal thing (, so Scary Bread was a brilliant parody. OK, maybe not brilliant, maybe not even funny, but certainly not a retarded as it sounds when you’ve never heard of Fairy Bread. *sigh*

Bloody Mary said...

"hundreds and thousands or sprinkles"!

Ugh, that rewrite is awful. I have a friend whose editor insists on changing her perfectly delightful newsletters for no apparent reason. It's like processing a lovely cheddar into Velveeta. The worst part is putting YOUR name on something that is no longer yours that you no longer want to take ownership of. Pearls before swine!

I couldn't believe my eyes when the title "The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror" popped up on my TiVo!

(Alternately, Peppermint Patty became code this year in my family for someone who invites the whole family over to your house for a holiday.)

Anonymous said...

Yikes. I'm an editor, and hearing about stuff like this just makes me cringe. It's appalling that there are people out there who think it's totally okay to write additional material into an author's piece instead of querying her about suggested rewrites.

Also, this: "I simply love a good scare and the adrenaline rush it provides. Even better? There are tons of horror flicks (and a few TV shows) with lesbians in them."

Really? Who wrote that? That's one of the worst attempts at a clever transition I've ever seen. It doesn't even make sense.

Kaye Telle said...

I was supposed to do an interview with a band and the main guy clammed up. Eventually he and I got to talking about amusing bacon products and I thought it made an interesting piece. My editor did not and it was rejected. I will mention that about two months later the magazine did a full page feature on bacon products.

Anonymous said...

spooky punch? spooky fucking punch? I LOVE your original article and the person that rewrote and ruined it should DIE- or just not do that again.