Thursday, October 28, 2010

"What was I thinking??" or "How I Edit"

NaNoWriMo is about to get under way, which means I'll be shoving my inner editor into a box and ignoring him for a month.  (Funny, my inner editor is male.  Huh.  Any psychoanalysis on that, folks?)  Today, though, it is still October.  I thought that I'd give you a glimpse into what goes on in my head after I post something like I did on Tuesday night (rather late), then go back and read it again later.

First thoughts:  What?  WHY did I write that?  It sucks!

Next thoughts:  Okay, why does it suck?

It was quiet. Very quiet. (Not a BAD opening, but awfully vague.  Like "It was a dark and stormy night," only worse.  It feels cliche, and not in a good way.)

Samantha looked up from her computer. There was no movement in the room. She looked around - it was quiet and still. This was a bad sign. She stood up and moved away from her desk. Not a sound.  (Repetitive, and lots of telling, not showing.) 

"Shit," she muttered. The pillows on the couch were unmolested. The blanket on the floor was abandoned. (More telling instead of showing.)

"Casey?" Samantha called out. (Who is Casey? I thought I was being all clever and providing an amusing ruse, but after re-reading?  Yeah, not so much.)  Nothing. Her pulse picked up as she walked down the hall. She was terrified about what she might find around the corner, but she kept going. It was better to know than to imagine, she told herself. (These last two sentences don't flow together as a single thought.) As she approached the bedroom door, Samantha strained, trying to hear anything that was going on inside. Still, she heard nothing.  (I'm totally bored with the 'nothing.' Also, I've used that word twice in this paragraph, and it's a short one.)

Samantha reached out and pushed the door fully open. (So much telling, so little showing!) There lay Casey, curled up on Samantha's pillows, sound asleep. She let out a sigh of relief.  ("She" Samantha or "She" the dog?) Casey opened one eye, looked at her human, then closed her eyes again, sleeping as only a puppy can.  (This is a horrible attempt at a cliche that isn't really a cliche and it bothers me.)

Samantha backed out of the room, returning to her computer, oblivious of the pile of 'killed' socks under her bed. (Another botched attempt at cleverness.)

So that's what went through my head as I re-read it.  Next step?  Figuring out if a) it can be fixed and b) if I really want to bother trying to fix it.  In this case, I don't really want to bother.  I don't really like the idea, and there is virtually no character development.  It was definitely a case of forcing myself to write without really having any sort of plan.  At all.  Also, it was writing after my bedtime.  Once upon a time, I could stay up until all hours with no problems, but since I've become a grown-up with a day job, I need to get to bed.  If I try to be creative too late in the evening, I end up sewing my jeans to a shirt or writing something like this.

Perhaps I'll find another piece later on to show you my form of editing... (Be warned, I hate editing, and while editing, I tend to hate my writing!)

And in unrelatedness, Ruby is feeling better!  I took her in to the shop yesterday, and she stayed overnight, but today I picked her up and she's running nicely.  She's got a new catalytic converter (I still don't know what that does - I should Google it), but still has her old secondary fan.  Someday, when I'm a rich and famous writer, I'll get all of her bits replaced!  (Yeah, right!)  Until then, though, she's functioning well enough to get me to my day job.

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