Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why I don't edit or proofread these blogs.

Every work of fiction, every piece of text you expect an audience to pay for should have an editor.  Not just your mother/cousin/English teacher, but a bone fide, knows-what-they're-doing, kick butt editor.

That said, I don't even proofread this blog for errors.  Let completely alone edit for content, or logic.

That may seem horribly lazy or counterproductive, or a thousand other negative things, and you're probably right.

This is why:  I have the most evil inner editor on Earth.

Every writer has one; that little person living in your head that makes you go back and check the spelling, polish your dialogue until it gleams, questions whether or not the chosen word is just right for the situation or not.  Usually, this creature is not a bad thing.

Mine is a hellion.  A dominatrix with six inch steel blade heels that will settle for no less than absolute perfection in my fiction.  That will have me reading the entire dictionary and thesaurus for the absolute right word - no exceptions or substitutions allowed.

This is a bad thing.  She is not quiet as I write the first draft of anything.  Rather, she stands behind me, one flashing silvery heel buried in my shoulder, and twists every time I mistype a word, wonder about spelling, or can't think of that perfect adjective.  The slightest interruption?  My fragile bubble of writing is shattered like crystal on concrete, and no amount of yelling or meditation will get it back.  The rest of my writing for the day is shot.  I've kept going after that break.  That infuriating distraction that no normal person can understand, where the page has vanished, my characters cavort around me, and words flow like champagne.

At those times, I write words that are sometimes so beautiful that I can't believe they came from me.  The words outside of inspiration are insipid pap, bland soldiers plodding along through the waist deep muck of mediocrity.  It happened just now.  I try not to snap, because it makes me seem mad.  In both senses.  Perhaps I am.

I don't edit or proof these for two reasons. The first, is that this blog is a conscious effort to try and get that inner editor to shut the hell up for a while so I can produce, rather than spending three days building, tearing down, and reconstructing the perfect paragraph.  That is not an exaggeration.  This bitch is evil.

The second, is my lack of confidence with my own writing, which has to do with the inner editor.  That's why she's so strong, of course.  She wants me to make sure that each of these posts is pristine.  Perfect and error free.  As a human, there is no such thing.  Therefore, if left to her devices, I would never even finish these posts.  There would be no blog,  I would just keep revising forever.

I do hope, that as I continue this daily exercise, I shall be able to use what I've learned here in my fiction writing.  And hopefully be able to work through those well meant interruptions without flying into a frustration induced mini rage.  (Non well meant interruptions are exempt - I can still get pissed off about them.)


  1. My (not so evil) inner editor and I have a win/win agreement that often leads to prolific collaborations and so on. Your mileage, of course, will vary with an evil one.

  2. My (not so evil) inner editor and I have a win/win agreement that often leads to prolific collaborations and so on. Your mileage, of course, will vary with an evil one.

  3. My inner editor should be roasted on a spit. You bring the tinder, I'll bring the logs.

  4. My inner editor has a nemesis: My Muse. THey are equally powerful but I think Muse has an edge. So I exercise her more, play with her more, engage her whims more. The inner editor cannot operate while the Muse and I are working together. She tries, but I trust Muse implicitly even when I don't where the hell she's going. I offer the evil editor a date. Later.

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  6. Yes, this. I can totally relate to this.

    Maybe in 2012, I'll start "writing practice" ...