Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My side, your side

Yesterday I posted on the care and training of cliches, and it becomes apparent this approach isn’t preferred by all writers. Erica, it seems, has a shoot-to-kill order in place.

It does highlight a simple truth—what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

I’ve learned to embrace my cliches, my extra adverbs, my sentences that—after the second or third attempt—just don’t say what I want to say. I adopted these potentially bad habits because for me the alternative was to not write at all.

I was unable to silence my inner editor enough to make any progress. Every sentence I wrote, I had this shrill harpy screaming in my head: “That’s crap, awful, lame - you can’t write that.” I’d get stuck, rewriting the same paragraph over and over, getting more and more frustrated.

A few overworked pages or chapters don't make a manuscript. I had to find a way forward if I wanted to write, and I did. It isn’t without risks—it’s easy to become blind to the cliches and clunky bits. Especially the sneaky-hide-in-the-corner-ones. Good news though: I’m now able to tidy up as I go and still advance the word count, keep that story rolling.

I found a tool that worked for me. It might work for you, or it might not. You won’t know until you see how well it fits.

1 comment:

Erica said...

Yeah, it's true. I can't go on till I'm at least semi-satisfied with the tone and shape of the scene. And if the dialogue is wrong, forget it. I'm stuck there until it comes out right.

It makes me cranky at times :) but it gets the job done.