04 March, 2011

A Conversation With My Inner Editor

I'm in a room. The only other things present, besides two chairs and a desk, are my MS and my Inner Editor. The former is sitting in a corner talking with my MCs and the latter is looking at me, arms crossed, toes tapping on the floor.
   "Look, would it be so hard to go over this part--" my Inner Editor starts to say, but I interrupt.
   "I want to WRITE."
   "So? Edit! You need to edit!"
   "But then I'll lose the flow of the writing and'll get bogged down in editing and revisions. You've never written a novel! You don't know what it's like!"
   "No, I've never written a novel. I'm an Editor, Ms. Author. And I say you should start editing! That sentence is horrible. Look at all the atrocious cliches and stereotypes and plotholes you could drive a tanker through!"
   "They'll get fixed later, I promise! Just let me write--"
   "I need to get this part down . . . if I don't, I'll lose all my inspiration."
   "I don't care. You need to fix things. I'm telling you to edit. That's an order."
   I stare. I sit down. I call my MS over from the corner of the room because my IE is so insistent. My MS gets up and tucks the characters aside while I start looking it over, from the beginning.
   But moments later, while my IE is gloating over my shoulder while I start to fix what I've written, I slam shut the computer.
   My IE stares at me.
   "I don't need you looking over my shoulder."
   "It's my job as your Inner Editor--"
   "I'm tired of this. I'm going to write, and you're not going to stop me."
   I open the laptop again and start typing away, ignoring my IE's gasps and call for me to stop adding junk to a horrible manuscript and get back to editing.
   Because I'm exasperated and I decide enough is enough. The constant nattering by my IE is too much.
   "Just sit down!" I snap finally, glaring at my IE. My IE looks back at me, face blank.
   Seconds later, my IE speaks. I think it's because I've gone against the editing, but then I realize it's because of something else altogether.
   "You know, just 'sit down' would have been better. More concise, and you wouldn't have needed that adverb in the dialogue tag. Not to mention--"
   I turn away. My IE, unknown to me, smiles with satisfaction and leans back in the chair.
   Well, my IE thinks, she certainly didn't mince words in that dialogue. And no dialogue tag. Progress!

-----The Golden Eagle


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I hate those inner battles.

The Golden Eagle said...

Yeah--writing is more fun than editing! :)

L. said...

Writing and editing are a continuum. Not discrete entities.


KLo said...

You're good ... my inner editor is firmly wrapped in duct tape. Especially her mouth ;) Maybe this is something I need to work on ...

Anonymous said...

I like that! So me. ;)

Sally said...

Ahhh! So true!

I lock my inner editor in the closet so she can't bother me until I'm done with the draft. Will I go back and edit? Of course. But not until I'm done writing.

Also....If you really like to write, we'd love to have you share some of your works over at anecdote-stories.blogspot.com

B.E.T. said...

That was positively entertaining and I was very happy at the end. IE is not an antagonist, just a pest sometimes when in the rough draft stage. It'll get its day...when the rough draft is done!

Donea Lee said...

My IE has been banished indefinitely! :)

Marian Allen said...

LOL, Golden! This is too funny! I sort of have that battle, but my inner editor is as lazy as I am, so she's easy to shift.

Marian Allen

Francine Howarth said...


Oh I've found a good way of keeping IE busy. By having two projects on the go, new ms and one in revision IE kind of gets hooked on the revision, leaving new project to roar away all cylinders on max! ;)


Charity Bradford said...

LOL, don't you wish you could physically bind that editor so you could really write? Good luck!

Demitria said...

So funny! Editing is hard work, but oh so necessary.


ali said...

ROFL! That was awesome :)

M Pax said...

I can so relate. My IE screams at me all the time. I need to banish to the corner today.

Old Kitty said...


I hope you both sit down for a break and a truce and have a cup of tea and a biscuit or two!

Take care

Rogue Mutt said...

Sounds like you need some lithium.

Brian said...

I'm still talking to my inner kitten, but I'm not as successful as you!

Edith F. said...

I appreciate this. : ) My Inner Editor and I are pretty good friends, but she still irritates me or gets in the way sometimes...

Observatory of the Quotidian

mist of the blossom rain said...

Ha! At least you can tap into these conversations, I don't even introduce myself to my Inner Edit. That. Would. Be. Very. Dangerous.
Oh no! She's already yelling about improper sentences!

Michelle Merrill said...

That's awesome. I loved that discussion. And for the record, if you're on a role with a current WIP, finish it before you go back to your other revisions! I paused on a WIP to work on something else and when I went back, I couldn't remember all the little details that I had tucked away in my brain. My fault for not writing EVERYTHING down before the switch. Oh well, just wanted to back you up against that IE :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

One in a while IE slows me down. She sure gets around. I guess we all need to learn how to deal with her on our own.

VR Barkowski said...

Great dialogue! Even though I prefer to hone and edit rather than draft copy, my IE is a tyrant. I don't think I could put up with him/her if I actually didn't love to edit.

Jules said...

LOL, great conversation there. Glad I'm not the only one who talks to imaginary people in the corner :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Trisha said...

Haha, this was cute! :D

Kari Marie said...

Oh! I sent my inner editor packing when I sent a wolverine after her. She won't be back for at least a week, she's locked herself in the closet.

I'm glad I'm not the only one with IE issues.

Indigo said...

I have no problem ignoring my inner editor until I'm through with the first draft. However, when it comes to revisions and going through the 2nd draft she's the most noisome pain in the...

Of course, I give in and double check what I've already edited...sigh. At this rate I'll be lucky if I see the 3rd draft. (Hugs)Indigo

Charles Gramlich said...

You are obviously not drinking enough. :)

Deborah Walker said...

I make a deal with my IE, she can't interfere until the first draft is done. Pesky woman.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've had similar arguments!

Here's a quote of the day for you:

“The main thing is to WRITE. Some days it might be 2000 words. Some days you might tinker with two sentences until you get them just right. Both days belong in the writing life. Some days you may watch a ‘Doctor Who’ marathon or become immersed in a book that is so good you can’t stop reading. Some days you may be in love or in mourning. Those days belong in the writing life, too. Live them without guilt.”

— L.K Madigan

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Those battles can be epic. Who the winner will be is always a toss up.

Talli Roland said...

Oh dear. This sounds so familiar! I hate those voices inside my head!

Madeleine said...

LOL! Sounds great :O)

The Golden Eagle said...

L.: I love the way you put that. :D

KLo: LOL. I don't usually feel the need to do that--but I would if it was absolutely necessary. ;)

Shaynie: Glad you enjoyed it!

I think most writers go through it--I kind of envy the ones who don't!

Sally: That's what I try to do, although I will fix plot holes/changes during the first draft. Just so I don't have SO much to fix when I finally do get around to edits/revisions.

I'll check out the blog! :)

B.E.T.: I'm so glad you found it entertaining. :D


Donea: Good for you!

Marian: I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

Francine: I'm trying that at the moment--I've got one (or three, depending on how you look at it--LOL) projects that I'm just writing away at and one I'm doing some really heavy revisions/edits on.

Charity: Sometimes! :P

Demitria: Glad you enjoyed it!

The realities of writing involve editing--and hey, at least the IE leaves the writer alone for a while once they're done.

The Golden Eagle said...

Ali: I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

M: I hope you succeed! ;)

Old Kitty: I suspect we will--or, at least, I'll need IE's support while I'm working on the novel I finished last month.

Rogue Mutt: It's not that bad--yet. :P

Brian: Good luck getting your inner kitten to work with you!

Edith: I hope your IE stays away from your writing, from now on! Maybe what I did to mine will galvanize her. :P

Emily: LOL.

I can see how it would be dangerous--but I decided to confront my IE once and for all!

Michelle: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thank you! For the advice, and for the backup. It's nice to have other writers behind you. ;)

Susan: I guess so--whether it's in a small room with the MS and a computer or with a paper and pen.

VR: Thank you! :)

I don't really like editing--LOL. It's not the worst, but I just prefer creating opposed to fixing.

Jules: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

Nope--I do it too!

The Golden Eagle said...

Trisha: Glad you liked it! :)

Kari: A wolverine! Inventive way of getting rid of your IE. ;)

Indigo: You'll get to the 3rd draft! And I know what you mean--there's just so much on the table that more than a couple of drafts seems pretty impossible . . .

Good luck with your edits!

Charles: Eh. I doubt it. :P

Deborah: Good policy!

Theresa: Thank you for sharing the quote! I love the way she put that.

It's so sad about L.K. Madigan. I read Flash Burnout and I really enjoyed it--she was a great author.

Lisa: Hopefully, the author wins. :)

Talli: Less a voice and more of an impulse for me--I'm more of the one who gives my IE the means to speak. LOL.

Madeleine: Hope you get your own Inner Editor bound to the metaphorical chair. ;)

Dominic de Mattos said...

Hi Eagle

I loved it! I fear I have been a wimp. I keep giving in to the IE and going back to chapter 1. Not good. I must be strong!

Now then, you are invited to a "dinner party" for Crusader Group 14 over at my blog.

Writes of Passage

Come and join in!


Ciara said...

HI, fellow crusader. I'm a follower now. :)

Writing is my passion, editing is a curse.

Jai Joshi said...

Some days my inner editor and I are friends, getting along just fine with casual jokes and witty repartees. Other days we draw blood. I never know which day will be which.


....Petty Witter said...

I think KLo has the right idea. I had to take this drastic action with my inner chocolate monster.

Tony Benson said...

So masterfully put! I laughed all the way through. We all have this conversation, I'm sure.

The Golden Eagle said...

Dominic: I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

You can write! Show the IE who's boss. ;)

I'll be sure to come over!

Ciara: Thank you so much for following, fellow Crusader! :)

Agreement. :P

Jai: It's like that for me, sometimes--I just don't know whether I'll have to wrangle with my IE or if I'll have an easy writing day.

Tracy: Good for you!

It does seem like the easiest option--just bind up that inner voice and get over it. But I can't help but feel sorry for me IE . . . LOL.

Tony: I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :D

Michelle Gregory said...

i LOVE it. our IE's must know each other. thanks for following me.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Michelle! :)

Cally Jackson said...

This is great! Love it. Something every writer can relate to!