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But What Color Were the Rocks?

I’m sure we all know someone who always seems to miss the mark. You know the type of person I’m talking about. They always seem to come up with questions that make you scratch your head and say “WHAT???”

Here’s an example:

Mary tells a heartwarming story about a little boy and his puppy taking a walk through the woods.

Unfortunately, the little boy and his puppy didn’t see the shallow open well a few steps ahead. The puppy, being the active happy little pup that he is, runs ahead and falls into the shallow well. The pup swims furiously an attempt to get out, but his efforts are useless.Rocks

The quick thinking little boy realized that he wasn’t big enough to reach into the well so he looked around to see what he could use to retrieve his pup. He found nothing but rocks at his disposal. He started strategically tossing rocks into the shallow well (it was a little tough because he didn’t want to hurt the pup). Eventually, the pup was able to step on the rocks and climb out of the well.

The story ends with the typical scene of the happy puppy licking the little boy’s face in gratitude.

Mary sits back after telling the story only to see Sally looking at Mary quizzically. Finally Sally says, “But what color where the rocks?”


I’ve got to tell you. From my most recent writing experience with Demand Studios, I believe Sally is alive, well and working at Demand Studios.

I don’t believe there are many editors like Sally, but I know there is at least one. Whenever I get a silly request I’m often tempted to reply, “But what color were the rocks?”

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • A Non Eye Mouse December 15, 2009, 10:54 am

    Oh, I got that one. I wrote an article related to breast milk. The editor commented “Please define breast milk.”

    REALLY? Do I really need to *define* breast milk????????

    And there goes my rewrite score. Sigh.

    • Felicia December 15, 2009, 11:00 am

      Wow! You win. Define breast milk? I think that one wins the award. 🙂

  • Candace December 16, 2009, 1:43 am

    Sigh. Why do so many Demand writers worry about their scores? Don’t you realize that THEY DON’T MATTER? Just write. Never mind your stupid score. Write, write, write. Make money. Write, submit, write, submit, don’t look anywhere else. Just write and submit. Screw their stupid scores. They don’t care. Honestly, they don’t.

    • Felicia December 16, 2009, 6:03 am

      I agree with you Candace. I couldn’t even tell you what my score is. I never look. I’m sure that if I did, I’d probably get upset.

      Let’s face it, the same people who are wondering about the color of rocks are the same folks that have input on my score. Do I really what to see how they evaluate me?

  • Cassie Tuttle December 16, 2009, 3:40 am

    Funny article, Felicia. 🙂

    Bwaaa. When it comes to Demand Studios, I don’t know this from that. But I think it’s too bad the “editors” there (I think you’re referring to copyeditors) seem to be giving the rest of us a bad name.

    Really, guys. Most of us copyeditors are a nice, smart, reasonable people. These DS “editor” nightmare stories I keep reading about here on Felicia’s blog make me see red.
    .-= Cassie Tuttle´s last blog ..Let Me Just Say This, In Conclusion =-.

    • Felicia December 16, 2009, 6:06 am

      You’re right Cassie, they are copyeditors.

      For the most part, they do a pretty decent job, but there are those few…

  • Barbara December 16, 2009, 11:16 am

    What a great parable. I have not had that experience with DS editors (yes, maybe). However I cannot count the times I had that kind of help in corporate America.

  • Tashana December 16, 2009, 2:34 pm

    To funny Felicia. I swear this is my son. The only difference is, he asks questions that make me wonder if I gave birth to a 50 year old college professor rather than a 9 year old boy.

    For example: One evening I wanted to introduce my 4th grader to a wee bit of history. I have ROKU on Netflix and so I told him that we were going to watch a ‘Silent Movie’. “Before there were Avatars or Ben Ten Alien Forces or Transformer movies, there were silent films.” I lovingly expressed.

    He said, “Oh really. Okay, well let’s see’um.”

    “Okay.” I said.

    So, I click on the 1929, original version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula throwback, Nosferatu. With the creepy Count Orlok, played by Max Schreck.

    Now, not even 10 minutes into the movie, my son gets up; goes into the kitchen; and yells –

    “So mommie, what’s this movie about?” Me being the rhetorical movie curator that I am, answered with confidence and educated elegance. I said, “It’s about this vampire, who’s like Dracula, who turns people into vampires once he bites them.” Commonsensical enough, I know.

    My son, walks back to the couch, extends his right hand, while his left is folded securely around his chest, as if to school me on some masterfully challenging topic, and says: “no mommie, that is not what I’m talking about. I mean is it meant to entertain or inform.”

    I laughed, played off a mental stumble and squinted – because I actually had to think about it. Not only did the scholarly like question throw me, but I really had to ponder for a second on the answer I eventually spurted.

    “To entertain.” I said after a few moments. Then my son, in all his character and wisdom; goes back into the kitchen and as he walked away says: “See, that’s all I was asking”.

    Can you say, “What color were the rocks”…
    .-= Tashana´s last blog ..How to make $600,000 with the stroke of a pen =-.

    • Felicia December 16, 2009, 3:43 pm

      LOL! Your son is a true gem. 🙂

      I can almost hear him say “See, that’s all I was asking.” Too funny!

      He must keep you on your toes.

  • Kidgas December 16, 2009, 11:55 am

    LOL. That was a funny story. I just had to stop by because the title made me so curious. I am glad I did because I needed a laugh.
    .-= Kidgas´s last blog ..Halfway Thru the Month of Xomba =-.

  • Andrea December 22, 2009, 10:45 pm

    Yes, I get that editor alot! But like I said, write like you are talking to a friggin’ idiot… because sometimes you are! The problem is they want you to do all of that in 300 to 500 before the idiot’s attention span runs out.

  • Wendy December 22, 2009, 11:24 pm

    Hey there, Felicia!
    Thanks for this post…absolutely, “Non Eye Mouse” you win : ) but I swear, I got hit with the oddest rewrite requests all in a row and I was there, scratching my head, feeling all alone for awhile….

    Thanks for this place where I can feel less alone in all of this!

    My past 10 articles have just swept through, so I think there was just a weird CE there for awhile…who knows?

    Thanks, though : )
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Nov 27, How To Give A Massage =-.

    • Felicia December 23, 2009, 6:39 am

      I’m with you Wendy, the past couple of days were great. No rewrites, no silly requests. Guess the weird CE took a holiday break. 🙂

  • Beelissa December 30, 2009, 8:15 pm

    This reminds me of an experience I had on a forum several years ago. I joined the forum and posted some messages and then one day I got a PM saying I’d gotten a — I forget what they called it, but basically it was a disciplinary point. I’d broken some obscure forum rule that I didn’t know about (I didn’t know they could give out these points either) and if I did it again I would lose posting privileges for a month.

    I sat, open-mouthed, staring at my computer for a full minute and still didn’t believe it was true.

    To make a long story short, there was one moderator, one out of many, who had let the power of authority go to her head. Instead of using the rules to achieve their aim, which was to have a nice place to discuss the topic without anyone getting offended or having flame wars erupting, she had taken it to the extreme and was going around giving out points for minor infractions and really offending people herself.

    I think the CE position can have a similar effect. Mostly, they just want to get the job done and work with the writers to accomplish the goal of getting quality articles written. But every so often, one of them gets a little too excited about being able to call the shots.

    I also want to say — I agree that it’s mostly a waste of time to pay attention to the writer scores.
    .-= Beelissa´s last blog ..I got my wish — Chrome history =-.

  • Lisa January 16, 2010, 3:08 pm

    I don’t pay attention to my score either, and I don’t abandon many rewrites, either. If the CE asks a stupid question like that, I will confidently explain why I have chosen to “not follow” or “minimally follow” their instructions. So far, each time I’ve done that, it’s been approved. It’s ballsy, but it works. Stand behind your work:)

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