The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kill Your Inner Critic

cartoon by Doug Savage, of Savage Chickens fame

          Everyone has one. Everybody has an inner critic. Sometimes they rear their ugly head when we look in the mirror and spy the two honkin' huge zits that sprung up on our face. (What kind of cruel god would give me hot flashes AND zits at the same time?)

          Sometimes they tromp on in when we're writing. And instead of saying, "Yikes! You are one hot mess,' they say, "That story sucks."

          Most writers have their own ideas and strategies when it comes to rough drafts. Many just hunker down and get the story/article/novel down on paper. Even if you think some of your word choices could be improved upon. Even if you know there are huge holes in the piece. Just get it down, and worry about fixing it up after the first draft is done.

         Some even conjure up an image of their inner critic. Mine is a middle-aged lady. She never wears anything except a faded, thread-bare housecoat. On her feet--dingy slippers. She smokes, and the ash of her cigarette is so long, it's always on the verge of dropping off onto the floor. And she wears glasses--pink-tinged plastic frames. Cat-eye glasses.

         When I have to explain my piece to Cat-Eye Lady, when I have to rationalize my choices to her, my writing becomes stronger. I either become more convinced, or my explanation results in me heading down a different trail with my tale.

         So, how do you handle your inner critic? Do you kill them off (I'm overly fond of "death by wood chipper") or  do you embrace them?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finding What's Missing

     Oh, many things are missing these days. My youth. My skin's elasticity. My once-perky parts' perkiness. Viggo from the newest Hobbitt movie. (No Viggo? What's the point of watching it?)

     And this morning, I found part of a rough draft went AWOL. Last night, I guess I fell asleep in front of my computer. When I shut my laptop down, I must have neglected to save the work I had done. (Hopefully the stuff I "recreate" will suck less than what I forced out last night.)

     In some of my pieces, what's missing is easy to spot. The beginning needs more oomph. The ending is abrupt or lame. Too few ellipsis. (Yeah, like that could ever happen with me.) Some rocky transitions that need smoothing out.

     Other times, everything seems tight and well-crafted...but editors have a different (wrong) opinion. It's a shame that so many publishers and editors make sooooo many mistakes (she said with her tongue jammed firmly into her cheek).

      What are you missing these days? (You interpret it any way you choose.)

       And since I did watch a 27  3  hour movie, waiting for just a glimpse of Viggo, here's a parting picture...

photo by robertnkellypattinson