Thursday, September 20, 2007

13 Strange Truths and Neurotic Whisperings

Thirteen Strange Truths and Neurotic Whisperings About Writing

The winner of the last Thursday Thirteen contest, thanks to, is Commenter #21, Liz Wolfe. (Yes, I know that last time selected #21. Kinda fishy, huh? But I swear, that’s what it said!) Will you please email me your address if I forget to email you, and I’ll send you Cherry Addair’s Edge of Darkness? Or I’m sure we’ll chat soon ...

This week’s book-to-win is Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells. To win, just leave a comment. I bought a copy the other week, and when I finally finished unpacking my books from RWA, discovered I had an ARC. (That’s when DH declared I was not allowed to buy any more books until January. Yikes!) I’ll send you the ARC, because it comes with the cutest little packet of garden seeds!

On to the Strange Truths and Neurotic Whisperings of this Writer ...

  1. Strange Truth #1: The more you’ve polished and crafted a book, the more you think it’s one of your most well-written works, the less reader reaction you get.
  2. Neurotic Whisperings: Oh shit, I worked really hard on this story, I think improved on this one, I tried this, this and that, and I was sure I improved, so ... does that mean this is going to be a flop? A bore? Maybe I should make sure I hate it, force myself to hate it, so that the rule of opposites will kick in? Yikes! I shouldn’t admit I love this story ... will that curse it?
  3. Strange Truth #2: On the other hand, the more you hate and feel a work sucks, the more readers seem to like it.
  4. Neurotic Whisperings: But, really, I loved this story before. Halfway through I thought this was one of my best stories, so does that mean it’s going to fall under strange truth #1 or will it be under strange truth #2? Must hate it more ...
  5. Strange Truth #3: The tiniest niggle in your brain about your work, the tiniest little, seemingly minor issue you decide is not really a problem, will be a BIG, OBVIOUS thing to a reader or editor.
  6. Neurotic Whisperings: But it’s just a tiny thing. Readers are going to read so fast they won’t even notice it. Maybe this is just my perfectionism surfacing this time, maybe it’s nothing ...
  7. Strange Truth #4: Fixing those niggles always makes it better.
  8. Neurotic Whisperings: Ohmigawd, what if I change the story and the story gets worse? What if taking out this part or adding in this part ruins the pacing and the flow?
  9. Strange Truth #5: Blog friends are always right when they point out that you seem to be explaining away a niggle, and are right when they gently suggest that perhaps you should consider fixing it.
  10. Happy Whisper: (Edie, I always smile and think of you whenever I write the word ’happy.’ I swear, it cracks me up. You’re infectious!) I get to go past 40,000 words and write my originally-planned ending!
  11. Strange Truth #6: If you want to convey any emotion to a reader, you must go ten times deeper inside the skin of the character, ten times deeper into the emotion.
  12. Strange Truth #7: When you turn yourself inside out with the drama of a scene, with some emotion that just depresses you for several days, you will have created a nice, entertaining read for the reader.
  13. Neurotic Whisperings: So please tell me I don’t have to go there today. Please tell me I don’t need to go that deep here. Just let me write, let me stay up here on the surface. Or ... oh, man. I cried, I made myself sick to my stomach with the emotion of this character. And the reader writes and tells me it was funny? Entertaining? I suck as a writer!

Join in the Thursday Thirteen fun!

29 bonus scribbles:

Kate Davies 9/20/2007 12:44:00 AM  

*Looks over shoulder* You been listening to me? :)

And congrats to Liz Wolfe. I loved the Cherry Adair Edge series. I get to meet her at a booksigning on Friday. woo-hoo!

mother of hana - the writer 9/20/2007 01:56:00 AM  

OMG...these are the truths I've been wanting to hear/read...


Bernita 9/20/2007 06:55:00 AM  

Same voices in your head as in mine, huh?

StarvingWriteNow 9/20/2007 07:23:00 AM  

That little inner voice is a pistol, isn't it? Great post!

Edie 9/20/2007 09:02:00 AM  

ROFLMAO Spy, Talk about a happy person, did you meet LaDonna in Dallas? She's so happy she bounces.

I LOVED Garden Spells. Whoever wins that is going to be a lucky person.

Nr. 6 is my strange truth too. Ugh. Sometimes I don't want to go into that deep emotion. Okay, most times.

Are all writers neurotic, or is it just us?

ivan 9/20/2007 09:12:00 AM  

I envy you about your writing. I wish I can have more time like you.. :)

mine's up at Dear Me.

have fun!

Nancy J. Bond 9/20/2007 10:29:00 AM  

Your #8 really hit home with me this morning. :) Great list.

Susan Helene Gottfried 9/20/2007 01:20:00 PM  

You should have called this the list of things no one else will 'fess up to...

Happy TT, babe.

Kate S 9/20/2007 01:35:00 PM  


Those "strange truths" are SO true. Especially 1, 2 6 and 7 for me.

And the last neurotic whispering? That wasn't neurotic whispering, that was at least four people telling me outright I had just written "the funniest thing" - that "funny thing" which had left me depressed, broken and bleeding for days!

Loved this. Universal truths, apparently.

Lorelei James,  9/20/2007 02:42:00 PM  

Maybe it's a conspiracy, since we all suffer from it :)

Ann Aguirre 9/20/2007 04:57:00 PM  

Interesting into your psyche. :)

Carrie Lofty 9/20/2007 05:09:00 PM  

Those sound awfully familiar! Thx for stopping by...

Amy Ruttan 9/20/2007 05:26:00 PM  

How very true. All of them.

Jennifer McK 9/20/2007 05:59:00 PM  

OMG! Yes, yes, yes!!!! All of those are right on.
Especially the little things that seem small that the editor (or God Forbid reviewer) catches.

Donica Covey 9/20/2007 06:08:00 PM  

Hey gal Donica here. THe phobia you mentioned..its called Telephonophobia. Honest, thats what its called! LOL

Thanks for stopping by my TT


Nicholas 9/20/2007 06:21:00 PM  

Fun list! We writers must be a really neurotic bunch.

Elle Fredrix 9/20/2007 06:46:00 PM  

Yep, it's true. We all need to be in intense therapy!

Ann 9/20/2007 06:55:00 PM  

Maybe we could get a group rate? :)
Great list, and too true. Happy TT.

colleen 9/20/2007 07:19:00 PM  

I think it was Annie Dillard who said something like 'if you feel a problem in your writing, that's means there is,' and she then recommends to fix it. There is a little voice that guides this, but it's a lot of work that follows when you listen.

Christine d'Abo 9/20/2007 08:22:00 PM  

LOL These are perfect! So true, every single one of them.

Anonymous,  9/20/2007 08:27:00 PM  

Ha! Wonderful list -- I do believe the voices in our heads are talking to each other!

Lisa Andel 9/20/2007 09:30:00 PM  

3 is a sad truth, 5 is even more so.

L^2 9/20/2007 10:04:00 PM  

What a great list! Those "strange truths" are SO true! LOL

Thanks for visiting my birthday TT. :-)

Alyssa Goodnight 9/20/2007 11:10:00 PM  

I just finished Garden Spells this week--very unique read. I really enjoyed it.

And very creative T13! Ain't it the truth...

julia 9/20/2007 11:13:00 PM  

This is funny, yet it scares me.

Darla 9/21/2007 04:11:00 AM  

I've heard other excellent authors discussing that last strange truth and how baffling it is when a reader tells you that scene where you bled all over the page was funny.

I think that's because they do get it, subconsciously, and that's because you are a good writer. They wouldn't have found it as amusing or entertaining without that depth of emotion.

Robin 9/21/2007 08:30:00 AM  

I'm not a professional writer, but 1 and 3 certainly hold true for some of the pieces I've written!

Sophisticated Writer 9/21/2007 04:18:00 PM've just uncovered the truth about writing and now I really...should go polish some more.

Or not. You said we shouldn't over do it :D

So, it's not just me who hears voices?

Amazing list!

Jill 9/23/2007 01:02:00 PM  

I think we always overquestion our writting!!