Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Saturday mornings here in the Antelope Valley, a free newspaper appears on our driveways called the Antelope Valley Press Express; it's mostly advertising, but there are a few articles. I noticed one by Don Mayhew entitled "Making e-mends: Fixing a faux pas when communicating via e-mail." It began with the following story:

Author Bonnie Hearn Hill was exchanging ideas via e-mail this summer with a friend writing a psychological thriller. The story involved a character’s murder.

“I think you need to kill him sooner, right off the bat,” Hill, of Fresno, Calif., wrote. The friend didn’t reply.

She wrote again, supplying details about where and when the murder might take place. No response.

She tried again: “Let’s discuss this murder of yours over coffee.” Still nothing.

Finally, Hill called her friend, who said he hadn’t received any of her e-mails—and by the way, uses his middle initial in his e-mail address. She’d been sending her homicidal messages to a stranger with a similar name.

One of those little occupational hazards that writers need to be careful about.

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