About Time

Experts | Think Tank |


By Tank Hoover

Being one of “Roy’s Boys” is a dream come true, even though he jokingly calls me the nightmarish red-headed bastard child. He’s a hoot, always teasing me like that. He could be an actor, he’s so convincing.

Being the newbie, I had to learn the lingo and meaning as they pertain to the writing world. Take time for instance. When a newbie, freelancer approaches an editor to “pitch” an idea, they usually have “no time for you.” You have to be innovative and imaginative in your approaches to grab their attention.

Doing a little research on Roy, I discovered he’s a retired cop like myself. I figured this is where I can make my connection, and establish a relationship, and then pitch my ideas, if only I could get him to answer the phone.

An idea popped in my head, after weeks of calling with no returns. Last time, things were different. I called AH HQ and asked to speak to Roy Huntington, please. The receptionist was very polite and told me he was in a meeting, and asked if I wanted to leave a message. I felt guilty, but told her to have him call Det. Hoover, Homicide , and left my cell number. WOW! He called back, lickety-split! That was real easy.

I finally submitted some articles to Roy, and he tells me he needs a little “time” to go over them and he’ll be in touch. Here’s the funny thing I learned. While we think of “time” as being measured by watches and calendars, editors think of “time” in terms of ages. As in stone age and ice age. Stone Hedge is the editors stopwatch. “Soon” means for “several” months. “In a bit” means years, and “in the future” implies not in your lifetime. Editors live in a time warp continuum in deep, dark space, where a year goes by for us, but not them. They think “no time at all” has elapsed. Editors can make snail mail seem like the high speed Internet.

In a way, Editors think of writers as dogs, time-wise. For every seven years that go by for us, only one Editor Year passes.

But We ‘Riters …

Now the reverse is true when you insert the word “deadline” in front of a time reference. Suddenly, that “deadline by next week” turns into a couple of days. Real days! As on honest-to-gosh days. “Deadline next month” is two weeks, tops. “I need that deadline now” is code for, “Why am I not reading it now on my computer?”

Peculiar thing, this writing game. While editors have their own time conceptions, writers have theirs, too. This is divided into two groups. Pre-Written and Post-Written. Pre-written time is basically synchronized the same as Editor Time. A distant deadline seems like you have all the time in the world. As the deadline progresses, it appears the weight of the “project” picks up momentum, making time fly, or even disappear. “Where did all the time go?” is the panicked murmur of the procrastinating writer.

Insomnia, stress, worry, and other maladies are the catalyst for a full-blown panic attack. When Roy calls, to check on progress, the writer goes into his actor mode and lies. “Going great! Wrote so much I’m having a hard time editing out any of the fluff” — as the writer’s shirt is soaking from sweat, his stomach gurgling with acid, and he has gnawed his last fingernail to the quick. Never play poker with an editor or a writer! They lie to each other so much, it’s second nature, and no one knows what the hell is going on.

The other category is good for the writer. This is the “post-written” time mode. You’ve sweated, tossed, turned, wrestled and rumbled with the demons, yet you persevere, you made the deadline and got it submitted to Roy Boy! Hitting that send button is akin to launching the nuclear missile to destroy all evil in the world. Now, the hard part, though.

Editor-Time Again

Roy, although happy you beat your deadline like a dirty rug, now goes into Editor Mode. Time starts tooo-drraaaggg into a slow motion time warp. “Why doesn’t he respond? Did he like it? Will he use it? Where’s my check? Will I be able to eat this week?” Eventually, Roy will send a detailed return back to you. If he doesn’t like it, it will be a three-page critique on why your writing sucks and why you should limit your writing to making “For Sale” signs for sleazy real estate agents who sell bridges or 40-year old mobile homes.

If he likes it, the response is usually a curt, “Got It.” Be happy if you got that response. Trust me.

Reading my returns, I usually make lunch first, so I eat while reading his five page response as I clean the paint off my hands from making signs.

Don’t think all this time stuff is limited to Editors and Writers. Subscribers are also thrown into the mix. They are more like the “post-written” writer, anxiously awaiting their latest issue of American Handgunner. Roy shows his sadistic side making Handgunner a torturous, bi-monthly magazine taking forever to appear, fettering the readership of any pleasurable reading. Some rabid readers are known to stake-out local post office sorting centers to “Shanghai” their subscribed periodical early. He told me once a reader said, “I wrassled with my mailman ‘cause he tore the cover of my last issue, dang him!”
Roy loves dedicated readers like that.

Lastly, I could never figure out how the magazine comes out two months early with all the different time frames involved. Then I figured out the “Publisher” (His Editorship) is smart — real smart. With all the late deadlines and such, rather than rush through and get the months all messed up, they simply changed the year of the issues. So the Jan/Feb 2016 was actually slated for Jan/Feb 2015. Pretty damn smart! That way, whatever time it eventually comes out, they just change the date however they want to. Like I said, never play poker with anyone who is an Editor, Writer — or a Publisher.

And remember, anytime is a good time to read American Handgunner, the timeless magazine for those who want to stay up to date on shooting, handloading, gun gear and just having fun.

Just don’t try to play any poker or stuff like that. Especially if it has “magazine” time involved in it …

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