Friday, March 8, 2013

Telling Your Inner Editor to "Shhhhh".

I'm not sure who I'm writing this post for--you or me. =)

Sometimes what you write isn't going to be as good as you wish it was. You're doing the best you can to set aside time to write, to have something already planned so that when you get the opportunity you can crank out the words, and the thing that comes up on the screen isn't what you'd consider your best work ever.

This is something that feels very familiar to me right now. I've been working on a scene for the last couple weeks and I just could. not. get. it. right. Nothing I wrote sounded good. It just sounded cheesy and choppy.

Finally today I gave up, wrote what I could, and made a note in the handy little note section of Scrivener (a writing program I just started using and am utterly in love with) that I felt like the whole scene was awkwardly written and I needed to go back and fix it once I have a little break from it and can look at it with fresh eyes.

Are you one of those people who struggles to turn off your inner editor? It can be done, really! Some people have a harder time doing this than others do, but it's something that helps a lot. Just talk yourself into it sometime and try. Don't go back and re-read what you've written right away (trust me--I'm not re-reading the scene I wrote this afternoon anytime soon). Just push through your lack of perfect wording and get something there. You can edit not-great writing. You can't edit a blank page. =) I think someone smart (haha, not me) said that once, but I don't remember where I heard it. I totally wish I'd made it up though, because it's so true.

On another note--I'm looking for inspiration. What hasn't been covered here yet or what do you wish someone would cover again?


  1. This is a big struggle for me. I generally feel like any idea and anything I write stinks. Since last fall though I've been doing better with just writing. I stil have to manage that voice though.,

    For inspiration I'd love to hear all about your proccess. How do you get ideas? Are you an outliner? Panters or plotter? Edit as you go. That kind of thing ;)

    1. Thanks Tonya! That gives me some idea for things I can talk about... =)

      I'm so glad you say you've been doing better lately with just writing. I think that really is key sometimes. Also, sometimes changing scenes will help. Today I finally abandoned the scene that had been giving me trouble, worked on another one, and--voila!--it was less terrible.

  2. I think this is probably my biggest struggle as an aspiring writer. I write, it's not "good enough," I get mad, I trash it, and nothing gets done. I've always been hard on myself, but it seems like it's gotten worse in the past couple of years. :/
    I don't know if this has been covered yet, but I'd like to see a post on beginnings. That's usually where my writing gets derailed. I look over the first paragraph and think, "Yeah... I wouldn't keep reading this." What are the building blocks of a captivating first scene?

    1. I absolutely LOVED Erynn's post on this today! She had awesome things to say! =)

      Also, I think once you build a captivating story in your head--you know your characters and you know what happens to them--you can always go back and make a stellar beginning.

      The novel I have that's in the process of being edited (still going crazy waiting to get those back!) my opening chapter was kinda 'meh'. I didn't love it, but I didn't know what else to do. My crit buddy told me it wasn't terribly intriguing, but I ignored that (haha, shame on me!) and when my editor pointed it out too I decided I should probably fix it. But it was literally the LAST thing I did in my revisions for this book. All the other parts were polished and pretty before I finally felt like I had the ability to tackle those opening paragraphs and make them draw the reader in.

      So I'm right there with you. =)

  3. I have a silly question if someone could answer please...what are the settings I need to have my manuscript in to make life easier for later? I recently changed it to Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double spaced, .5 indent on 1st line of each paragraph. I gleaned those suggestions from a variety of posts here or elsewhere...but would love it spelled out for sure. I understand contests and proposals and such all generally follow a rule of thumb. I need that thumb! ;)

    Also - what's a one-page and what's a query? Same thing? Different? What are their purposes?

    1. I think your formatting sounds right, but I'll let one of the others answer for sure since they have more publishing experience than I do at this point.

      A one-page (or one-sheet--I'm thinking they're the same but with different terms...right y'all?) kind of encapsulates your whole story concept in one page. It's a summary of your story, maybe a one line pitch, your biography...things like that. Everyone includes different elements, but it's purpose as I understand it is to sell your book and you as a potential author all at one time. Usually these are the most useful at conferences. I've never had one requested during any kind of submission besides pitch sessions at a conference. But everyone loves them for that. =)

      A query letter is usually just a formal letter that details your story idea, a little about you, maybe a little bit about how you'd be able to market your idea. These are what people generally ask for if you're submitting, like to an agent, so they can see if your idea interests them.

      How's that? =)

  4. Sarah's right! :) And you're right on the formatting in my opinion. One thing though, sometimes a one page can mean one sheet, in which Sarah's answer is spot on. However there are also one page summaries that some agents/editors require, so if they mean THAT, they're talking about essentially a one page synopsis.

  5. Oh goodness...One-page, one-sheet, query, synopsis, proposal...varying forms and sizes of similar information. LOL.
    At least I have the right format now. That's a good start.