I see the missing hyphens and I don’t know how I did that. I’m accustomed to hyphenating age. Other typos I don’t see. It’s a matter of not seeing what I’m not expecting to see. That’s why we have line editors. They’re paid to clean up after us.
In reading over the piece after not looking at it for a while I was struck by the repetitions, same as you.
You are correct that this is a sketch and not a story. What I want to know is how the dialogue holds up. ‘Mike and Bernie’ comes closer to being a story. It’s pure dialogue with no description or narrative and was written as an exercise to see how well I could describe the characters using only their words. It’s not appropriate for this board because the two characters are elderly, so I’ll not post the whole piece here.
Selling a story is not my goal. I ‘retired’ in ’95, but I continue to sell a fair amount of non-fiction every year. My goal is to learn to write fiction. If down the road I write something I believe might sell, and if I can get my agent to agree, then I’ll try for publication. But that’s a long way down the road because I’m a long way from writing anything I believe has commercial value.
I’ll review Hart’s Rules and see if I’ve ms-interpreted what he said. My copy was printed about the same time as the first edition Fowler, about 1920, so there may have been some changes. Or, I may have it wrong. If so I’ll change my style.