Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Down The Toilet

“There are days I’d rather clean the toilet than write”

Ahh the words of B.J. Daniels, who writes Intrigue, and who, let’s face it, has spunk! I’m not quite tempering an urge to clean the toilet but I probably could stand and bash my forehead against a wall for an hour rather than read my own work again. Not because it’s particularly bad (although it very well could be) but because my characters aren’t eagerly awaiting me to tell their story and have been going out of their way to make me work for every single word for the last few weeks.

This is what happens when I write only one story at a time (you would think I’d have seen it coming) and because I’m writing to a deadline I don’t have the luxury of putting my work aside and chatting with two different characters who actually want to cooperate with me.

Enter the skim reading phenomenon.

Have you ever found that you’ve read your story so many times you’re no reading it but skimming over it? I blame years at university for permanently damaging my ability to read like a normal person. The little perfectionist imp on my shoulder is cracking the whip and is definitely not happy with the finished product but procrastination has kicked in and now I fear I’m a goner (at least for today).

Right now, I could quite happily delete the entire thing out of pure frustration. Aren’t the characters supposed to do as they’re told? Would someone please tell mine that? Perhaps I’ll change their names to something completely ridiculous as punishment… Snugglepot and Cuddlepie come to mind…

“What an amazing profession: getting paid to give life to your imagination” – BJ Daniels

Perhaps my imagination has a little too much life at the moment?


Lorraine said...

I definitely get to the point where I think I know my story but have clearly been skimming - I get comments back from CPs that are so obvious and reasonable I have no idea how I missed them!
Can you have a little bit of a break to recharge your batteries or does the deadline loom???
Good luck :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Yep, I'm a skim reader. I'm a 'oh God do I have to read this again??' kind of reader when it comes to my own work.
My characters often have days like that too. Maybe they could contact your characters and have a party? Alternatively we could herd them into a holding pen and give them all a good whipping. ;-)

Suzanne said...

I don't think there's ever a good excuse to clean the toilet - or do any other kind of housework for that matter.

Skim reading? Oh yes - I do that with bells on. A lovely writing friend has just pointed out how many times I've repeated certain words in my MS - it's scary stuff, and I just hadn't seen them the countless times I'd gone over it.

Good luck with the misbehaving characters - it's not nice when that happens.

Becca J. Heath said...

I skim terribly. Hubby says in general i only read every third word of a book.
Try reading aloud maybe?
Good luck!

Lacey Devlin said...

Ahh Lorraine I have taken time out (not intentionally by life forced me) tomorrow I will discover just how badly my characters are behaving through fresh eyes!

I like the idea of herding them into a holding pen Jackie! The question is where do we get a cyber one large enough???

I know! Serious motivation goes into toilet cleaning for me too Suzanne!

I should try reading out loud. The experts say it's the best way to work through your dialogue but I confess to having a fear that my work will sound a LOT worse out loud than in my skim reading head Becca! I'm desperate though so I have a feeling I'm about to get real up close and personal with the audio version of my writing ;)

Lucy King said...

I skim read too. On the upside it does mean you can reread books and always find something new.

Weirdly though, I find I read my own stuff quite thoroughly which may be why I get so fed up with it!

Anne McAllister said...

Oh, I can't go back and read about them at all, Lacey. I have a physical aversion to doing it. Makes me ill. But toward the end, of course, when I finally know who they are and what they should have been doing, then I have to go back and rewrite the dratted thing, putting in all the 'right' stuff.

And then it's impossible to 'skin read.' I have to agonize over every word. That is what I'm doing now -- and it's not so bad once I plunge in (though there's a lot of work to be done).

BJ Daniels is a friend of mine. It made me laugh to see her quotes. Yes, I can imagine her saying that!

Lacey Devlin said...

Lucy I'm jealous! Sometimes I'm not so sure whether I've read it properly or skimmed through it!

Thanks for visiting Anne! I'm so thrilled that I'm not completely crazy. I have a visit my self to the land of putting things right, it's a bit wonky at the moment ;)

When I found those quotes from BJ I just had to share! She sounds like great fun :)

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