Friday, April 27, 2012

Sometimes you just have to get even with the inner editor

The writer was knocking out the story. She was excited because she had finally gotten past awful chapter seven and was in the zone, happy and oblivious. Then she heard a knock at the door. Not knowing better—the writer never seems to learn—she innocently opened the door with a smile on her face.

Standing before her was a figure wearing one of those fake Groucho Marx glasses-nose-and-mustache numbers to hide her true identity. The writer recognized her anyway. It was the inner editor. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun like it always is, and she had twelve yellow number two pencils sticking out of it like an intellectual porcupine. She pulled off the disguise and peered over the reading glasses sitting on the tip of her nose, carefully tapping a manicured fire-engine red finger nail on her cold, curving smile.

"I can't believe you wrote this." She snorted.

The writer felt confused. She had to pull herself out of the story-world she had been in and back to reality in order to answer. "What do you mean?"

The inner editor sashayed over to the computer and pointed a long, accusing finger. "This. I mean, apart from the obvious grammatical mistakes, it just doesn't flow. What were you thinking?"

The writer felt her creative juices begin to evaporate under the inner editor's withering gaze.

The inner editor pressed her advantage.

"There's no way you can go any further until you get this thing fixed. And as penance, you're going to have to go back and rewrite every chapter you've written so far at least ten times until I'm satisfied." She leaned against the desk, shaking her head sorrowfully. "Don't think you can get any substandard writing past me. I saw the notes you made about chapters eight and nine. The plot is implausible, the characters shallow, and the dialogue ridiculous. I doubt it's worth putting it down on paper. In fact, I'm thinking we need to junk this whole project and start over from scratch."

The writer's eyes glazed over. She was almost completely paralyzed now, caught in the evil clutches of the inner editor.

"And don't think you can blame me for any of this drivel. It's all your fault. You're the writer, after all." The inner editor smirked before checking her impeccable manicure.

The writer shook herself, and a spark appeared in her eyes. "Hey," she said. "That's right. I am the writer."

The inner editor flinched. "Now, now. I didn't mean you were in charge, or anything like that. You need me or you wouldn't ever produce a decent manuscript." She began to edge toward the door, but she wasn't quick enough. The writer grabbed her by the collar and gave her a quick shove into the hallway. The editor stumbled away, trying to regain her footing. "Hey! That is no way to treat an editor!"

"Out!" The writer was back in control. "When human resources sends you to Acapulco because you're a pest, you need to stay there until I ask for your help during rewrites." The writer began to shut the door, but paused for a moment. "Oh, and by the way. No one is going to pin writer's block on me when you're really the culprit. Scram!"

The inner editor scurried down the hallway, picking up number two pencils that had worked loose from her bun as the writer shut the door firmly behind her. She dusted her hands and took a deep breath. A sense of freedom, nay, of creativity, washed over her like a cool rain. She sat down at the keyboard, fingers poised for only a moment before they began to tap the keys.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An oldie but a goodie: Appeasing the publishing gods

Feverish drum beats echo through the sultry jungle night as natives bearing torches, like a line of wavering fireflies, make their way up the side of a rumbling volcano. The tropical breezes drift past unnoticed as they climb past trees and around boulders, each clutching a sacrifice to his or her breast.

Finally, as they attain the rim, the reverberation of seismic activity throws them to the ground. Their chief is the first to struggle to his feet.

"My fellow writers!" he thunders to the crowd, "we must appease the publishing gods. Have you your sacrifices?"

As one, their affirmative cry rises over the grumble of the volcano.

"And are they first drafts, unedited and pure in their original form, printed on pastel paper in colored inks so they are sure to get the attention of an editor?"

"Yes! Yes!"

"Are you certain you have made no attempt whatever to research which publishers might be interested in your genre or type of writing?"

"Yes!" The natives are in a wild frenzy by now, waving their manuscripts over their heads.

"It is time!" shrieks the chief. "Throw your sacrifices into the volcano. The publishing gods must be appeased!"

In a cascade of colorful papers completely lacking sufficiently postaged self-addressed stamped envelopes for return responses, the manuscripts plunge into the fiery depths where they are incinerated before they can touch the molten maelstrom below. A wailing keen fills the darkness as the natives hurry down into their jungle huts.

"Do you think we'll hear anything this time?" one native whispers to his neighbor.

"Absolutely. This time I added a handwritten note about how my kids and wife loved my story. I'm guessing they'll get back to me in less than two weeks. By the way, I'm looking for an illustrator for my picture book. Can you recommend anyone?"

New Blog/Website

I am so excited about my new website. This new WordPress site is fun because it is easy (at this point). It combines all the things I love: photography, writing, music and video! And, it is making my walk to work much more interesting because now that I have my cellphone camera, I can document cool and interesting things every day. I don't seem to have a lot of words to say about them, yet, but I am enjoying looking at my world in a fresh new way! -- the website