Sorry to be late. Issues with Blogger prevented me from publishing this last night
Some of you may be intimately familiar with this beast. It’s called the Internal, or as I prefer to call her, Infernal Editor. It’s that voice in your head that screams “No! That’s an adverb!” And “You’re telling and not showing again.” Or “Oops! You popped out of the heroine’s POV. Get back in her head.”
One of the first pieces of advice I read was to turn the Infernal Editor off and just write. Don’t think about rules or adverbs or show versus tell or POV or anything else. Just plop your fanny in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard and tell the story.
Ha! Easy for them to say. They don’t have the Infernal Editor from hell. Sitting at my PC is like flashing a neon sign at her that reads “Open for business. Come criticize and harass me.”
Someone suggested using an AlphaSmart since it doesn’t have a delete key and using the backspace key is a bit of trouble. So I got a used AlphaSmart and it’s sure a handy gadget, but the keyboard and tiny screen still beckoned to the IE and she appeared. She belittled what I wrote, hijacked the backspace key and generally impeded my progress.
Then one day I was out having lunch alone at the Target snack bar and an idea for a story began developing. I pulled a small notebook from my purse (writer’s tip of the day: always carry a small notebook for you never know when inspiration will strike) and started scribbling down words and then phrases and finally the opening paragraphs of the story. And… ssshhhh… don’t tell her… but the IE didn’t appear. She apparently was over in the lingerie section enthralled by the new shipment of red bras and panties.
I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and after I scribbled “The End” a few days later, I sat at the keyboard to transcribe the work into my word processor. Sure enough, true to form, she appeared, but this time she wasn’t quite so disruptive. The story was down in paper, albeit in a rough form, but as I typed IE gave me gentle suggestions about how to improve the story and where I needed to use dialogue rather than narrative. She was incredibly accurate about spots that didn’t work and proposed alternatives that were superb. After typing, I printed the document and IE and I read it over out loud, editing once more. When those edits were made on the computer document, the story was complete and ready for submission.
We all know that the Infernal Editor isn’t a separate entity. It’s YOU. Or rather, it’s me. It’s my brain wanting me to write the very best story I can. She really wants me to produce a top-notch piece of writing. Otherwise she’d stay at Target ogling the undies.
So what if I have a legal pad full of scribbling with footnotes and asterisks indicating spots where material is to be added? Who cares if there’s a big blank with a notation to Google the price of three-carat diamond rings or come up with a fictitious county in Texas? I’ve found the process that works for me (and the IE) and I’m sticking to it. It sure beats the year I sat helplessly (and hopelessly) in front of the computer monitor waiting for the words to flow. Strangely enough, she lets me write blogs on the PC. Maybe one day she’ll let me start writing first fiction drafts on the computer. But if not, at least I’m writing and having fun and enjoying every minute of this journey.
Do you have an Infernal Editor? Can you turn it off? Got any tips or tricks for everyone else?