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Another One Bites The Dust

January 2, 2010

Goodness me, now I’m getting downright ruthless. I had to do away with another character today, although at least this time the poor lad hadn’t actually made it into the book yet. He’d always been meant to appear, but as soon he started reminding me of a past character so boring and extraneous that I’d had to sic a vampire on him, I thought perhaps I’d make an attempt to learn from my previous mistakes. And so Daxton McGee was spared an abrupt and gruesome death by never being included in the novel to begin with, and the novel itself was spared the awkward inclusion of utterly irrelevant vampires. (Not like vampires are the only way to kill off characters, of course, but they are terribly convenient in their often-undiscerning murderous tendencies. But I digress.)

Later on in my work today, I nearly thought I was going to lose another character, and wasn’t quite sure I could handle three untimely demises in two days. (It’s hard not to become attached to your own creations!) Luckily, it turned out that all Ms. Astoria Rushing needed was a bit of relocating. She’s much happier in her new context, and so am I; the adjustment prompted a nifty little enhancement of some character dynamics and tidied up some unnecessarily crowded scenes.

Though I’m still quite pleased with how things are progressing, I’m concerned that I’m slowing myself down by doing too much on-the-go editing. This is partially due to the fact that my first chapter has been in constant flux since I began it; virtually the only words that haven’t been shifted around or changed entirely are “CHAPTER” and “ONE.” Hopefully that will settle down soon, and I’ll be able to write less haltingly. But it’s also just plain hard for me to wholly abandon that pesky inner editor. As I wrote about before, I’m much more concerned with writing an engaging story filled with lovable characters than I am with literary genius–but still, who wants to knowingly put mediocre sentences on the page? Not I! So I’m working hard to remember that I can always fix things later. Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing…

(What do we do? We write, write, write!)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2010 11:01 pm

    Ah! On-the-go editing kills me, too! I ended up having to send my first couple chapters to someone to read because I had rewritten them and sliced them and diced them so many times that I couldn’t even see them clearly anymore! Part of me says, “Just ignore it. You can always go back and change it later!” and the other part of me says, “But you know what you want to change now, so change it now! Why create more work for yourself later?” Ah, the self-loathing!

    • January 2, 2010 11:12 pm

      Oh, that internal argument can be maddening! (And you’ve transcribed it with such agonizing accuracy!) I tend to be pretty possessive of my works-in-progress, but the idea of an outside opinion does sound temptingly head-clearing. Did you find it helpful?

      • January 2, 2010 11:39 pm

        Yes and no. It was encouraging because she enjoyed the work and gave me very useful feedback. The discouraging part was that she gave me way too much useful feedback, and so I felt like I had a new mountain of work ahead of me based on her suggestions. This was actually another commenter on Jezebel, from the open threads (believe it or not). She was complaining that she’d sent chapters of her work to friends and family and no one had given her a response. I said I’d read it, so I did and gave her some feedback. Maybe a page. Nothing too deep; just tried to give some general ideas and encouragement. I sent her mine because I felt like, well, tit for tat, and she sent me SIX PAGES (single spaced) of her thoughts! It was six well written and well thought out pages, but six pages nonetheless! She obviously liked it and a fair amount of it was complimentary. A rave, even. But still. SIX PAGES. I really appreciated hearing someone else saying something about this thing I’d been obsessing over for months, but I couldn’t bear have someone I know in real life read it. If they didn’t like it I’d be too heartbroken!

  2. January 3, 2010 8:17 pm

    Wow, that is indeed a lot of feedback. I think you should be flattered, though, that your writing made that much of an impression! I’d be very encouraged by the fact that someone was willing to spend so much time responding to my work.

    It’s inarguably hard to show your work to people you know, but I hope you can come to trust your own talent and allow others to enjoy it. (Not like I’m good at following my own advice on this matter, but maybe if I convince you I’ll be better at convincing myself!) And I’d be happy to look at some of your writing, if there’s still any of it you feel could use an outside (and not-in-real-life) eye.

    I’m so glad I spotted you on Jezebel! I look forward to hearing more about how the writing’s going for you!

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