Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who Cares About Content?

One of my favorite sayings in regards to writing is “your audience is as smart as you allow them to be”. I believe the first time I heard it was from the writer of a TV series but I’ve heard it many times since and from various sources and each time it rings true to me. I love movies, TV series and books that I can learn things from. I watch Grey’s Anatomy for the anatomy as much as anything else, and hey, today there are twins in the world born of different fathers despite the insane odds and we saw it first on Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t need to glue my head to the TV to know how this came about even if the woman doesn’t have two uteruses (that’s right, the plural is uteruses, not uteri. Thanks for the info Dr. O’Malley ;-) ).

I don’t think anyone is a fan of a show that talks down to them or a book that’s been dumbed down for us lesser mortals, they’re just not entertaining enough. Those are the authors I black list and those are shows I don’t watch :). I’m a multi-tasker and if my other task (usually something I’ve put off doing for a hundred and one years) is more entertaining than the show, then it’s time to change the channel.

Seeing and doing are two different things, and despite all this I still worry that I explain too much in my work. Not intentionally, but I think it’s there, and let me just say I am not impressed. I find myself standing under the heading of “Telling Too Much Too Soon” more than I’d like. It’s all about the showing. Yes, that little magic word. I’ve heard it, I know what it is, I think I’m doing it but then we get to editing…. My brain is putting up a resistance, stubborn contraption that it is.

I’m almost up to 40,000 words on my ms for the pitch. The scary thought is editing. Will huge chunks have to go? Have I taken a great concept and turned it into trash in ways only I can do? Then there’s the scenes I know I have to cut but that I really, really don’t want to, so I get a bit precious (because I currently have the luxury), which buys them a few days grace before I hit the delete button.

I managed to track down this little clip which celebrates the shirtless Craig Horner (don’t we all). So, today I’m leaving you with a little bridge building action because who cares about content when there’s a half naked man riding a horse?



Lorraine said...

That's obviously the answer then - throw a half naked man riding a horse into your story and then the editor will be sidetracked :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lacey, never a truer word was spoken concerning content and naked men on horses...;-)

Get a CP to look at your ms re the show vs tell. I think, with short category, you kind of have to do a bit of telling to some extent but really - like Kate Walker says - it's all in the execution.

Suzanne said...

I'm definitely guilty of telling not showing and of explaining too much - and I don't see it in my own writing until someone points it out. So, you're already ahead of me if you can identify these problems with your own work. Good luck with the edit.

Am off now for a look at your clip.


Joanne Cleary said...

Lacey, it's so difficult to know if you are putting the right things in. It drives me insane. Some people say you shouldn't bash your reader over the head with stuff, they're intelligent enough to remember what you've told them. Others say a reminder every now and again is needed.

Best of luck with your pitch :-)

Rachael Johns said...

Wohoo Lacey - 40k is fantastic! Is this mss to pitch at the conf? Am very jealous... I'm not going this year!

I just did a workshop in deep POV this weekend and it was all about how if you really get inside the characters and write deep pov, you can't be telling! Denise Rossetti was the speaker and she said if you google deep pov, there's loads of info! May help...

Rachael Johns said...

BTW are those wait times on the side of your blog for stuff you've subbed?! If so... you are a lean, mean writing MACHINE!! :)

Lacey Devlin said...

It's all about diversion isn't it Lorraine?

Thanks Jackie and Suzanne! I'm going to have another look at it, perhaps I was a little harsh the first time :)

It's interesting isn't it that some say remind your readers and others not to? I think I'm still trying to find my own balance too. Thanks for the luck Joanne!

Ahh if only all those waiting times were from my own work but alas they are not! :) Some are does that count? It's a collation from subcare and times others have told me. I like to know how long a wait I'm in for and I thought everyone else might like to know too :) Thanks for the heads up on deep POV Rach! I'm off to google!

Liz Fielding said...

Lacey, I still find myself writing chunks of introspection and then realising that the H/h should be talking about this or doing this, not thinking about it. Good luck with wip!

Rachael Johns said...

I'm currently writing fast and hard (well as much as I can) and all I can think about is how much I'm gonna have to edit!! But hey... that's part of writing :)

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