Urging your fingers to stay on the keyboard, a cold sweat breakouts, you try to resist scrolling back. Just a peek, you tell yourself. You want to make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Lurking, ax in hand, right over your shoulder is a story killer. If you over think or stop typing, it will get you. The self-editing demon. He’ll bring his little ghoul buddies, doubt and fear to chop away bits and pieces of your self-confidence. Like a slasher in a horror flick, they’ll rip your story to shreds. Deep down you know forward is the only direction, but like the token blond in the three inch heels you trip. Become disoriented and head right back to the beginning.
I don’t know about you but this scenario happens every time I set fingers to keys. I try to be the smart chick that defeats the monster, but alas, I end up the blond. Unfortunately without her fashion sense or endowments. Maybe that makes me the bumbling sidekick who thinks they have it figured out, but steps into the trap anyway. Either way it sucks having an ax planted in the middle of your story.
Those of us still fumbling our way through the forest of becoming published are often caught in the snares. Getting that opening just right or polishing a scene until it leaps off the page. Those that have gone before and survive to get there tales told, advise us to avoid such obvious traps. Don’t look back. Give yourself permission to write crap. You can always go back and fix it once the story is on paper. It sounds simple, but it’s not.
I find myself getting stuck in scenes that don’t ring true. They might be fine, but something about them isn’t right. So I start back at the beginning taking that proverbial ax to my baby. Hacking and slashing my way through, playing Dr. Frankenstein, putting it together in different forms. What’s wrong with that you ask. Everything! It keeps me from finishing the darn story. There’s nothing worse than ticked off characters crashing around in your head wanting the story finished so they can take a breather. Can’t blame them, I want one too. With the vicious cycle of self-editing, neither writer nor characters can move on to the next story.
I brandish a mighty red pen–just ask Sara–and my work shows the scars of its slicing and dicing. I can’t leave the darn thing alone! I’m a serial self-editor!
At this month’s meeting of the Saturday Writers I opened my big mouth and said I would use NaNoWriMo to finish Disenchanted. The girls will hold me too it and there will be a much deserved raking over the coals if I procrastinate. Hope I can hold up my end or at least come up with entertaining excuses if I don’t.
Anyone else out there a serial self-editor? How do you deal with the slasher mentality toward your work?