Category Archives: editing

Destructive Readers

So, I’ve been fiddling around with Reddit for the past month and change.  It’s pretty cool.  Updated chatrooms.  I have to admit, I’ve missed those these past few years.  And I was very excited to stumble across the destructive readers reddit!  Ever since I left Colorado and left my old peer review group behind, I’ve been needing a place to post my writing and get some critiques and it seems that I’ve finally found a pretty good place online!

Honestly, I think it might be a good idea for me to still try to set up something IRL, but I’ve managed to avoid that for quite a little while now, and this online group is much better than the nothing I’ve been doing.  Also it made me set up a document as a google doc, which is something I should have learned to do ages and ages ago.

Well, gotta take off, plenty to do today!

That Itchy Feeling

Human beings have a lot of skin.  I mean, a whole lot of it.  As it happens, I have a bit more than your average bloke on the street, partly because I’m taller than average ,but mostly because I’m… well, wider than average.

Anyhow, we’ve got a lot of skin, and our skin is feeling a lot of stuff pretty much all of the time.  And most of the time we don’t even notice it.

But if you want to find out just how much your skin is feeling all the time, all you really have to do is find one bug on your person.  Just one.  Maybe it’s a caterpillar that dropped into your hair as you were passing under an old oak tree.  Maybe it’s a beetle that was passing by and decided to land, just for a moment, on your arm or the nape of your neck.  Maybe, if you’re fast enough and have good enough vision, it’s a flea that was lying in wait as you happened to walk past some poor mutt.

Whatever it is, once you find one of them, your body goes on alert.  Next thing you know you’re getting information about EVERYTHING that could POSSIBLY be another insect on you.

Occasionally it’s actually in insect.  Most of the time, though, it’s not.  It might be a tiny sliver of grass that’s stuck to you, or a thread that’s hanging off your shirt and brushing against your skin.  Or it could be the wind catching the hair on your arm and tugging it just so.

You could go days without even checking to see if you’ve got a mosquito on you, but the second you catch one, you’ll spend the next four hours checking yourself every twenty seconds.

I recently sent a manuscript out to a bunch of my beta readers, and now, thanks to years and years of experience, I know that I cannot check that manuscript until I have at least half of them back.  Because if I find one thing wrong, one misspelling, one piece of bad grammar, one wrong comma, I will be spending every waking minute from now until I get those copies back searching for anything that could possibly be wrong in my manuscript.  And I’ll be e-mailing all of my beta readers with up to the minute updates.  “Found another comma splice, sorry about that folks.”  “Crap, subject verb agreement problem on page 155!”

So even if I’m pretty sure, pretty damned sure, that I forgot to take care of something in the last chapter, that I left a tiny little plot point open that I meant to shut, I cannot, cannot, cannot actually go fix it.  Not yet.

No, I have to accept the itch.  Just endure it.  Endure it just a little while longer…

Those little gems

One of my favorite feelings, as a writer, is when I’m reading something I wrote a while back and I come across a section that I don’t remember, but love.  I’m working on book two of the corpse-eater saga, which I wrote a month or two back, and then set down for a bit.  I’m actually kind of stoked to find large swaths of text that I think are pretty danged okay.

I’m not saying that it’s the best writing I’ve ever read, but there are bits here and there that I just don’t remember writing, or thinking, and which do their job perfectly.

Sometimes it’s just a little bit of narration that uses an unusual, but appropriate analogy.  Sometimes it’s a section of dialogue that seems to fit the characters just perfectly.

I know that, as a writer, I still have work to do.  I need to try to improve my writing each and every time.  I need to learn to be open to new things.  I need to read more and write harder.  But it’s nice to see that the work I’ve done has led me somewhere.  I’ve made progress.  I am better today than I was yesterday, and I hope to be better tomorrow than I am today.

Just wanted to share that.