Tag Archives: worry

Floundering with a Wasted Day

I got to the writing cabin earlier than normal. I still have a house full of grandkids, and alone time is hard to find. It was dark as I meandered through the basement.

Cool things lined the shelves. Steampunk pepper sprayers that worked like bagpipes, helium drop balloons that substituted for parachutes, and tablet computers that were dishwasher safe. Readers like this kind of stuff. I liked writing it, they ought to too. The problem is in the presentation.

I kicked my way through a swarm of Panamanian beetles and stomped up the stairs. Lisa was doing something upstairs, I heard her walking around. Robots don’t sleep, they just recharge.

The Will ‘O the Wisp bounced around my office like a mindless three dimensional pong ball. It was moss green and gave off an eerie glow. Without me, it doesn’t do or symbolize anything.

I turned on my Mac and went to the lounge. I don’t mind microwave coffee, and Lisa would make some fresh stuff later. I went through the refrigerator and moved around bottles of frog poison, a Hand of Glory, and a shrunken head. I found some old chicken nuggets and grabbed them for Doubt, the raven.

I put the cold chicken bits in one of Doubt’s folded bronze leaves and took down his Christmas decorations. He flew over to my desk and paced back and forth.

The Wisp floated past my head and ricocheted off one of the logs toward the ceiling. I flopped into my easy chair and watched it.

Lisa came down in her snowsuit and hat. “Gee, you look busy. Sun’s just coming up, time to get started.”

I put my elbows on my knees and cradled my head. I didn’t have anything to say.

“Well, okay then. I’ll be taking down the Christmas lights if you need me.” She headed for the lobby.

Doubt retrieved a piece of chicken and flew back to the desk. He pecked at my keyboard while he ate.

“Go ahead. You’re probably a better writer than me anyway.” I watched the Wisp careen off the waste basket and head for the door. I blew the heat off my coffee and watched. It rebounded and headed for the window.

Lisa was outside pulling off the string of lights. She looked in at me and spoke. Her voice came across my telephone speaker. “Okay, so you have to rework Cobby’s story. Do you want me to get him out here?”

I gave a half hearted smile and walked to the pager. “Not today. I’m just thinking today. The kids will get up and call me back before I can get anything done. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I should just write for personal satisfaction.”

“Bullshit,” It was the raven.

“What did you say? I mean, Lisa said you could mimic, but —


“Okay, you’ve stayed pretty quiet so far. I figured you’d be happy I’m doubting myself.”

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.” He flapped back to his perch for another nugget.

I went back to the desk and watched the Wisp do a double bank off the window then the frame, and ducked as it fluttered slowly overhead. “It’s just so much to do. I need to limp through Cobby’s story again, then do the same with three others. In fact I owe it to Lisa to spend some time on her story too. What I’d like to do is work on this stupid thing,” I waved at the Wisp as it wobbled near the ceiling.

Doubt dipped his bill in his water leaf and drank. Apparently, he didn’t have anything else to say. I looked at the monitor and a website was displayed. It read, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

I looked up under my brow at the raven. “Lorelei said you came from Mt. Olympus. You’re not a regular raven are you?”

He pecked away at the last chicken nugget, and said nothing.

I grabbed my iPad and made a task list. I can do this, but have to take one bite at a time. The grandkids came down the stairs and called me away. If nothing else, I have a plan.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

The Danger of Perfectionism

Perfectionism keeps us from moving ahead. We all want to do well, but fear of failure has to be behind perfectionism somewhere.

I’ve edited my first story until I’m nearly blind. I need to let it set and revisit it one last time. I’ve done this with every artistic endeavor I’ve ever attempted. When I look at anything I’ve ever created, I can see every pimple in it. Others say it’s good, but I just can’t stop.

It’s probably bad to discuss these things online. Potential readers might be turned away if I degrade my own work. I’m going to risk it though. If I have this problem, other writers might too.

I know there’s too much telling in this story. If you study writing, most would have you believe there shouldn’t be any. Every story should show the reader what’s happening, and let the reader experience it. It just isn’t that simple though.

How on Earth do you let your character smell cinnamon, without just saying it? It might be possible to let the reader experience it, but how many pages would it take to get the point across? Word count matters too.

Telling is useful for movement too. If the character has to go to Mars, just say it and get it done. This is my opinion only, and you have to decide whether I’m crazy or not.

I learned a couple of tricks whilst editing though. I’ll share them with you since you’ve read this far. There are specific words that indicate showing. I did a word search and assessed each one of them. Some I changed for the better, some I left alone.

Here are the ones I’m aware of (so far): Felt, Knew, Thought, Wondered, and sometimes Was.

I also have some personal sin words. I used the same search to check these out: That, Just, Very, & Though. In my case, “That” and “Though” really get overused. Your words might be completely different.

I could be wrong, but I think it’s about time to shop for a cover artist. Perfect doesn’t exist. I just hope it’s good enough. I also hope discussing these blemishes doesn’t turn off potential readers.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Writing