I love it! “A scary MOFO dressed in Chanel.”
I usually reference Spider Robinson’s “sh*tbird on my shoulder,” but I like yours. LOL
You and I have many of the same references! I have most of James Scott Bell’s books, my favorite being a copy of Write Your Novel From the Middle that I had him sign when he came to speak at my local RWA chapter. And I love Chris Fox! I have his books on audio. I picked up JSB’s book today and I’m going through it again, looking for his thoughts on editing.
I’m so sorry about your brother. My cousin and I were very close and we’d been texting the day before she died. I have a lot of guilt about that, even if my logical mind knows it wasn’t something I could have prevented. Although it’s hard to think about, talking (or typing rather) about it here has helped. Thank you.
I definitely like hugs. I love to get and give them out to everyone. Hugs 🙂
First, I’m so sorry about your cousin passing! Hugs, if you are welcome to that kind of thing. My brother died from suicide too, and it’s a very difficult death to deal with and process. Making it harder, society at large doesn’t deal with it very well, making it feel like our grief is a very isolating one.
I totally understand the “finish the project and deal later” kind of mindset, especially if you’re on a deadline. I have that kind of mindset even when I’m not on a deadline! I’m extremely good at compartmentalizing–like not healthy good, but productive good. So I really relate to what you’re saying.
And I further relate to what you said about editing. I love that first edit run-through too, and yes, that’s a beautiful way to describe it–paining on the leaves. Love that! And YES!, I think you can get your editing mojo back. 🙂
What do you think about trying some new ways to edit while we’re waiting for that mojo to return? There’s the James Scott Bell editing process–he writes up to 20K, then goes back and reads and edits (paints in the leaves) then moves on the to the next 20K. I’ve tried this myself for two novels now, and I like it for those times when I’m feeling like I’m forgetting something I’ve previously written and/or when the next few scenes aren’t as clear in my mind as I’d like them to be. When I go back and edit in these 20K chunks, it helps me unclutter my mind and free it to “see” the next scenes a lot better. There’s the Chris Fox editing process where whatever he wrote that day, he goes back and edits that same day. For example, for him, he usually writes around two to three chapters a day (the chapters are anywhere between 1.5K to 2.5K). Then he goes back and edits those pages (paints those leaves) later in the day. He never writes and edits at the same time, and neither does James Scott Bell. However, there are some who do, which segues into Dean Wesley Smith and his “Writing into the Dark” editing process. Smith does something he calls cycling, where he writes 500 words then loops back and edits it. I have never done this for my fiction writing, but I do for all my non-fiction writing, which includes essays and historical articles for journals, etc. I don’t know why I haven’t tried doing this with my fiction, but for my non-fiction, I did it naturally before I’d even heard of “Writing into the Dark.”
So there are the processes that might help, but there’s something I do that might sound a little weird, so just bear with me. I imagine my self-editor as a real person, and I wrote about my process in a WIP craft book I’ve been working on. Hope you don’t mind a small excerpt:
My internal first-draft writer is a sensitive soul, dressed in a green tutu and iridescent glitter because I’m an effing unicorn when I pound out that first-draft. My internal editor is my seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Castle. She was fashionable, not whimsical. She was elegant and cold as iron. She, with pointed finger, once nailed me against an icy brick hallway wall outside of the classroom, and accused me of cheating when I wrote a poem by asking, “Did you plagiarize your poem? Do you know what plagiarism is?” “N-n-n-no, Mrs. Ca—I mean, yes, I know what plagiarism is. No, I didn’t—” “Then this poem is quite good, young lady. I’d like to enter it into a teacher’s journal that features our best students’ work.” I blinked unsure if I’d heard her correctly, and also I was blinking away tears because she was a scary MOFO dressed in Channel.
I know it’s weird, but I am extremely affectionate and loving of my self-editor when I think of her as a Mrs. Castle-type woman. Please don’t feel obligated, because this is a silly exercise, but if it sounds like it could help, great!
Let me know your thoughts, and if nothing sounds like it could fit, we’ll keep brainstorming!