Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I Love my Editor... and Why I Flash my Computer Screen sometimes

I love my editor. 

You never know how you're going to work with someone until you're actually working with them. After three rounds of revising, I'm realizing how lucky I am to have someone like Kristin in my corner, because...

1. She never gets annoyed by all the posts I write about the joys of revising.

2. Two days ago, we exchanged emails discussing the implications if Justin Bieber decided to enroll in a typical high school. (The Bieb won't be denied!)

Yes, this really was part of the revision process.

3. Yesterday, we emailed back and forth about our cursing preferences: which words we personally used, which ones we didn't, which ones were too "street", too flippant, or too crass for my main character.

Someone who swears too much is like the school floozy. Nobody's gonna want to buy the milk when they can get the cow for free.

4. She doesn't mind when I use metaphors that make absolutely no sense, which makes me wonder, if that free cow tips over in the forest, would you then have to pay for the milk?

*swears a little under her breath*

5. She's incredibly patient when she has to write the same instructions over and over in the margins.

The Top three instructions on this round?
3. "Let's take this further!"

2. "a little awkward..."

And the number one instruction... "SHOW!"

So, all you writers, the number one rule to "Show, don't Tell" never goes away. Sometimes, even when you think you're showing, you're really telling. About showing. I'm dizzy.

I've taken to answering these instructions out loud to the computer screen.  Yes, like a crazy person.

3. "... Your place or mine."

2. "...Welcome to my life." *awkward hugs*

1. For this one, I usually just flash the computer screen.

I'm under the wire on this round. Blogging may be sporadic. Who am I kidding? I always blog! I love to blog! And I vow, from this day forward, I will try to SHOW, not tell, in my posts. At the very least, I will flash the computer screen before pressing "Publish Post". 

So, what are all y'all's plans for the weekend? Anyone snowed in, like us?


  1. Yes, unfortunately one is always told to 'Show' not just tell. It's a continual battle when I'm teaching to get an image of what the paper is talking about :) Good to know even a famous author like yourself struggles with that as well. Oh, and I wanted to tell you, if I knew where you lived, I'd bring you bottled D.C. every week (since I buy myself some I would pick you up some as well!) :)

  2. Jo- I'll send you a map to my house!

  3. Brodi- I have the opposite problem. I work at a public library where people are all too willing to show things that I'd rather only hear about.

    Like the man who came in asking for a book about rashes who yanked and tugged his shirt over his Texas-sized beer gut to revealing the vast field of unlheathy splotches to my co-workers and I. Sometimes, telling is really (REALLY) all I need!

  4. Brodi--I had thought it was a one time deal, but now I think I should remind you not to "Show" while you are Skyping with me. "Tell" is better though still fairly inappropriate...

    How long until I can visit? I feel like it's been years.

  5. Kayla- Serious? That is scary! On a side note, Were the splotches pick-able?

    Heather- What's the fun in skyping without flashing? Maybe I've been doing it all wrong...

  6. Show, Don't Tell. Such a nebulous concept ...

    You give me hope, Brodi.

  7. Not much planned this weekend - I think the only thing really planned is for me to stay out of your way and bring you Diet Cokes when you command it.

  8. Sam- Excellent plan. And don't forget to check on the kids once in a while.

  9. I love that you guys sound like you're friends next door. It sounds like it makes the tedious, hard, painful process of revising a little ok.

    Next time you flash the computer screen, just make sure the little blue light on your webcamera is turned off. :)

  10. Debbie- what blue light? ... Aw, crap!

  11. "So, all you writers, the number one rule to "Show, don't Tell" never goes away. Sometimes, even when you think you're showing, you're really telling. About showing. I'm dizzy." Aaaaaaah! I am totally hearing you! Why is it so stinkin' hard to do sometimes??? Working on a chapter for a collaborative book on mothering. And I just can't seem to nail it. I'm thoroughly frustrated. I haven't tried flashing my computer. Now there's a thought! Hang in there Brod! You're doing AWESOME!

  12. Cath- You are a brilliant writer- I can't imagine you ever having a problem with a chapter! I know it will be fabulous. You wrote it! How could it suck? You probably don't even resort to using the word "suck".

  13. Oh man, this was a GREAT post! You're so frickin' funny, Brodi!