Saturday, November 6, 2010

Inner Editor

I'm sure I've mentioned this in a previous entry (or entries), but it's good to reiterate it -- always, always listen to your gut. That still, small voice that tells you something's not quite right with a scene, with dialogue, with a plotline. What I call the "inner editor."

How many times has this happened to you: You hand over your precious novel to a trusted friend, and if they're honest enough, they'll tell you that a certain scene, or phrase, or even character, isn't quite "working." That something just doesn't fit. And how many times do you find yourself already knowing it? Deep down inside, as you were writing that particular scene or chapter, you knew it, too. That something wasn't quite right.

That's happened to me MANY times. Especially when an agent in the past would be gracious enough to offer me feedback and make suggestions on my novel. Nearly every time, I found myself nodding at their email, agreeing with the change, already knowing something was wrong.

How much time I could've saved myself, if only I would've LISTENED to that inner editor! But I'm getting better at it, paying attention to him.

Just this morning, in fact, I spent lots of time reworking the beginning of Book 2 in my series. That all-important first paragraph. I ended up writing about five different versions of the first paragraph before I was satisfied. Before I found the one. And you know what? When I wrote the one, I didn't pause, not for a second. It flowed out of me. I didn't stop to question whether it was right -- I just knew it. I guess I was getting confirmation from my inner editor. No red flags, no snags, no doubts. Whew.

It takes extra brain power, extra time and energy, to keep fighting until you get it "right." But it's always worth it!


  1. You are absolutely right. This goes for critique partners as well as agent, and any good agent will tell you only to make changes that you (the writer) agree with.

  2. Very true - I'm finding that out...another agent who was interested in my novel a couple of months ago wanted MAJOR changes that would've changed the characters, and even the genre! Umm, nope. Bottom line for me - if I can't "feel" the changes, if I can't make them authentic for me, I won't be able to write them well, anyway. It'll be fake and the reader will see right through it...

    Thank goodness the agent I signed with totally sees eye-to-eye with me on any minor changes made. He's got some great suggestions, and so far, I agree with all of them...