Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Moment With My Internal Editor

I'm still line editing -- less than four chapters to go -- and my attention span has gone from that of a golden retriever puppy to that of a goldfish. Lurker Monkey has a wonderful post about his writing habits that are also very true for me. Going to the bathroom, checking email, excessive sweating... all are problems he and I both face.

Another is my internal editor (IE).

Sure, my IE is an important part of the editing process. He's been patient. He waited quietly during my first hand-written draft, kept his mouth mostly shut during the second/typing-everything-into-the-computer draft, and has taken his time getting comfortable in my story. But now it's getting out of hand.

Here's a typical exchange during line edits:

Me: *reads a line*

IE: I wonder if this will be the line that makes an agent reject you.

Me: An agent won't reject me for ONE line.

IE: Okay, well this could be the one line that makes an editor reject you.

Me: But an agent will help me go through and catch all the bad lines. We'll make it perfect.

IE: But what if the agent has the same weird sense of what's "good" as you and you both skip this line, only to have an editor spew her coffee over your ineptitude?

Me: An editor won't reject me for ONE line.

IE: *gives me a look*

Me: *thinks about how to rephrase line*

IE: *waits*

Me: *makes a change*

IE: I still think this could be the line that makes an agent reject you.

Me: *changes it back*

IE: That's not any better. Are you sure you really want this? I don't think you're trying very hard.

Me: *tries again, digs deep, comes up with pure genius*

IE: Hmm, nice.

Me: *moves on to next line*

IE: I wonder if this will be the line that makes an agent reject you.

And I wonder why I'm only getting through two chapters per day... but I'm almost there.


LurkerMonkey said...

This is too funny. And painful. With me, it's always, "Is this really necessary? Can't you just cut the whole damn paragraph?"

Melanie Avila said...

I never seem to cut more than a sentence at a time. I've been doing a lot of creative rearranging and I won't let myself move on until I'm happy with it. It's been painful, but I'm getting there.

(btw, there's a conversation on this same post on Facebook...)

colbymarshall said...

and oce again I must ask...are you following me? LOL...this sounds so familiar :-)

EriCan said...

Funny post Melanie... and so true! LurkerMonkey- Also funny and true!

My IE is always on... even in the first draft. I wish I could find a way to turn her off!!!

I think that's why this process has been a slow one for me. Oh well.

Melanie Avila said...

Colby, since writing this post, my IE has lightened up on the agent/editor trash talk. Now he's just focused on whether or not I'd be embarrassed to have people read my work.

Melanie Avila said...

Erica, I know you can never completely turn of the IE, but mine is usually appeased if I promise to fix all the bad things the next time I go through. Every now and then a fix will pop into my head so I'll go back to it, but otherwise I leave it for the next pass through.

Robin said...

I think your IE is secretly my mother. I feel your pain. I really do.

Nadine said...

Wow, your IE is quite good! I like the way he thinks! I hope mine gets there. Right now, his statements are more along the lines of "This is bad. Don't you think it's bad? Why are you writing this? Don't waste your time. There's a scrabble game waiting for you... "

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, that's a little scary.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, ugh. Just ugh. You need to beat your IE over the head with your keyboard.

Now about that scrabble...

Robin said...

Dude, I know! I know! ;)