Friday, September 18, 2020

Why you have to write it before I can assess it

I'm hip deep in revisions with two of my clients.

Revising is agony, no two ways about it. And particular agony as we try to figure out what's going to work (or not!) in a chapter, and the whole book.

Frequently my author will say "how about I do this."
And sometimes I say "Hey I have this Great Idea, how about you do that."

And then we both laugh cause if there's one ironclad rule here it's this:
Assess what's on the page, not what's in your head.

I have had Great Ideas that turn out to be ... err ... not.
And no matter what we're thinking, it's what's on the page that will be in readers' hands.

Here's an illustration of Great Idea; Not So Good Execution: my new curtain ties.

I thought using three cable ties, two yellow, one red, would look really cute and innovative on my bathroom curtain. It now needs to be pulled aside because I have plants there that need the bright, indirect light.

First problem: the cable ties weren't long enough.

So, I made little loops of the red and yellow cable ties and tried that.


Now they look stupid not cute.
And NOTHING like what I'd envisioned in my mind when I thought of the idea.

But I didn't know that till I tried it.
This is why you need to have the words on the page to see if something works.

All my ideas are Great when I think of them.
I wish they all worked in real life.

Also, if you have any good ideas for clever curtain pull backs let me know.

Turns out doing fixie things around the house helps overcome cosmic anxiety. 


nightsmusic said...

I always used curtain holdbacks when I had a shower curtain. There are lots of designs like leaves, flowers...alas, no sharks. You could glue a shark on the end though.

Most of my non-writing ideas turn out okay which is probably why, in the great universe of things, not so much in the writing stuff.

Hope you're doing better.

AJ Blythe said...

You've nearly got it with the zip ties. Pull the one colour tight so they are just a teeny little linking loop, cut the ends off back to the bit they thread through, add a few more sets of loops to get the length you want.

Can I say, a fish scale-esque shower curtain seems perfect for a shark.

Steve Forti said...

I'll just leave this here... Shark Curtain Tiebacks

E.M. Goldsmith said...

This post is like my life - a great idea, terrible execution.

Yes, domestic fiddling is great way to counter cosmic anxiety.

Kitty said...

“Remember folks, falling on your face is still moving forward.”
-Kinky Friedman

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

A 10 inch length of ribbon (or any material you can tie - even something like string) secure it to the back of the curtain with a safety pin. When you want light, use the ribbon to gather the curtains in the center of the window and tie them together. When it's time for privacy, untie, and your ribbon is out of sight but right there for the next day.

I was recently working on my ms and I kept rewording one section, saying it over and over - but in my head. I couldn't get it right. I finally said (yep, out loud to myself), "What is wrong with you! Write it out!" I may have even called myself a dumb a$$.

Steve: HA!

Jennifer Rand said...

Do you have a necklace accumulating dust in a drawer? That could work well as a tie provided you only have a single curtain to pull back.

gidgetkelly said...

Yes the necklace comment is what I was thinking...or maybe, if you've been to Hawaii you probably have a souvenir string or two of small shells...those would work. They can also be ordered online, inexpensive. I also use leather and silver straps from western (horse) headstalls, but that might not fly with your mermaid-ish curtain. Keep us posted! said...

I like the necklace idea: particularly a cheap pearl necklace. The two sides don't have to match.(Fits the theme). Following with the jewelry idea: fasten a ribbon, etc. with a brooch, preferably "sea" themed.

Can't believe this is what I choose to comment on.

Craig F said...

We ended up with doors on our showers. It was possibly because the curtains always ended up with a loop and ball bungee cord holding them. The crap we kept buying was just that and we would come home to find them in pieces on the floor; the curtain doing it's thing as a curtain.

PAH said...

This is why you should never be afraid to tell people your awesome ideas or what you're working on (people who are secretive about their book ideas always seem so amateurish to me). The idea is the easiest part of the whole process!

nightsmusic said...

texasblogger, eventually our shark drags us all into the comments section, one way or another ;) Welcome

Janet Reid said...

Mr. Forti gets another dose of revenge: the shark curtain tiebacks? "Unavailable"

nightsmusic said...

Janet, these are!

Unknown said...

Consider metal tie-back hooks. You screw them in and then loop the curtain back over them. Your curtains are visually complicated. The hooks would be a nice simple look with them.

Theresa said...

Maybe this is the main reason I'm not a visual artist. What I see in my head in terms of drawing, painting, decorating, etc. never translates well in physical form. I do slightly better with the writing thing, but even that is fraught with occasional failures.

Mister Furkles said...

My biggest problem with editing my own is that I read what I was thinking at the time and not what I actually wrote. This is why I MUST put it away until I forget what I was thinking.

Too many first person pronouns: That pushes the reader back from identifying with the MC. But seeing that comes later.

John Davis Frain said...

So true, Mr. Furkles. So true. The longer you can leave it in that desk drawer before attacking with the editing knife, the better off you'll be.

I did not realize, Janet, that you got that deep into editing with your clients. Good for you. And good for them!