(Note from me: Thanks, WordPress, for saving only the title and making me rewrite this. I assure you, the original was better.)
This past week has been contracts week for me — three of them, each about 15-20 pages. As I read my way through them, I kept wondering why they were so convoluted. Editors tell us all the time that our manuscripts need to be clearly and tightly written, that we need to get our point, cut any unnecessary words.
Yet publishers write contracts that take fifty long words to say what could be said in ten normal ones. The first chunk of the contracts is spent defining terms — who the publisher is (hereafter referred to as Publisher), who the author is (hereafter referred to as Author) and what the manuscript is (hereafter referred to as the Work).
I’m a smart person, but legalese, especially when the sentences run 60 words or more and couldn’t be diagrammed by the best English teacher I’ve ever had, just doesn’t compute for me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say, “Let’s do this on a handshake and a promise,” (Garth Brooks and a Rogers County jury just taught Integris hospital better than that), but does it have to be so complicated?