Friday, July 4, 2008

A WORD FROM YOUR EDITOR: Tom, great first draft. Your enthusiasm for the liberty thing really shines through. Now let's see if we can't punch it up a bit. Some suggestions:

When in the Course of human events
Strike "human?" Doesn't add anything. I think your shift key is sticking again.
it becomes necessary for one people
One person? Or just "people"? I like it better with "people," plural -- kind of has that universal relatability thing going for it?
to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another
Dropped a word. Another what? "Another people?" That's an awkward construction. Maybe "other people," or if you want to do a callback, "other humans." I like that -- kind of an Oscar Wao geek-cult reference. Very now.
and to assume among the powers of the earth,
Easy on the sci-fi, though -- we don't want to end up in the genre bins
the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,
These are the same thing. Pick one?
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
This is a little opaque. If you want to move away from the sci-fi, maybe replace the whole paragraph with "Sometimes, when people break up, they should say why." Can you come up with a good anecdote to illustrate this? What did you say to Sally that one time?
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
Throat-clearing. Delete and get to the point
that all men are created equal,
I'm okay with this, but you should sleep on it, because this is going to be published and you never know who's going to quote it back to you. Sally, for instance.
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Beautiful (other than the typo in "inalienable"). Drop an "and" before "that among these," and please see somebody about that shift key.

it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Your call, but you're going to lose the Mather people if you insist on the happiness part

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
Perez Hilton will kill you if we don't fix this one

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither
Is this a go? I can't remember if you wanted me to wait until you saw the final polling.

sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
This reads a little gross. Perhaps full stop after "people."

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms
Generally, I counsel writers not to brag about their humility. Just a suggestion.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.
Style manual says "hearing-impaired." Here, can substitute "nonresponsive." Pluralize "voice"? Do justice and consanguinity speak with one voice or two? In my head, I think I hear two, but consanguinity is pretty quiet.
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Great! I think we have our title. Enemies in War, in Peace Friends will kill on Amazon.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Run-on sentence. Let's not replay that whole fight about commas, please. And fix that shift key!

Anyway, great draft. With some work, this could be huge. If we get it just right I think I can call in a chit and get it in front of Oprah. Take the holiday off, but can you turn around another draft by July 11?

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