Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lazy Days of Summer

Marine Park,
Maurice Prendergast,
monotype on paper.

Because it is very hot, I've largely spent the last few days in front of a large fan watching series re-runs - sipping restorative drinks, languidly humid and suitably unclothed.

The Next Generation, Voyager, Highlander, Relic Hunter, but mostly of CSI.

I tend to gorge and glut on shows I like, though normally I don't watch much television. And with CSI I don't care whether it's Miami, NY or Vegas - because I've not watched the show before. My mind wasn't in that sort of forensic mode.

I noticed some episodes tend to linger in the mind - or, more precisely, specific scenes or dialogue often do - either because they are particularly effective or particularly not.

It's the same thing with one's MS.

After a piece is drafted, certain lines or scenes may tend to linger in the mind as either darlings or demons.

Ignore the darlings. They don't always need to be killed. Nor do they need to be fondled.

Pay attention to the passages that unconsciously nag. The ones you find yourself revisiting while you are gainfully employed in mowing the lawn, sorting the laundry or cleaning out the litter box. Your internal editor is trying to tell you something.

These are the ones which will propel you to annoy an external editor with last minute revisions if they are not fixed earlier. And the ones which will make you wince later if you see them in print.


Steve G said...

Excellent advice. I do prefer CSI Vegas over the other ones.

Seeley deBorn said...

Hm, maybe it's a good thing I lost that story a few months ago. A good portion of it bothered me to no end.

(On a happy note, my CP just admitted she had an older version of the entire story, not just the first few pages that remained on my computer. I could have killed her and kissed her at the same time. Now I can fix the problems!)

Jaye Wells said...

I seriously doubt watching Adrian Paul brandish his sword is going to cool you off.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Steve.
I haven't watched enough to choose, but I notice the Miami lead guy has some great lines and delivery.

That's wonderful, Seeley!
It must have haunted you like a ghost.

Jaye, maybe I'm odd, or deficient, or something - but I don't get hot 'n bothered by actors or their characters.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very good point. I tend to play over in my head the really good lines and feel all proud of myself. Course there's only two or so of them so it doesn't take long to replay.

raine said...

The problem passages do nag at you.
I find myself becoming so distracted by them sometimes I'm liable to walk into walls.
And sometimes the perfect solution seems to emerge WEEKS later--when I'm doing something totally unrelated. :-/

writtenwyrdd said...

If the eyes keep lingering on a phrase or word, if it sticks in your head when you are doing the housework, it is probably something that should go away.

Bernita said...

Way TOO modest, Charles!

"And sometimes the perfect solution seems to emerge WEEKS later..."
Exactly, Raine! And another good reason, I suppose, to let an MS "rest" like good bread.

Bernita said...

A ticker that it doesn't sit quite right,that it needs work or replacement, Written.

The Anti-Wife said...

"Jaye, maybe I'm odd, or deficient, or something - but I don't get hot 'n bothered by actors or their characters. "

Nice to know I'm not the only one.

Great advice. Thanks!

kmfrontain said...

I think more writers should follow this advice. A desire to tinker, imo, is a sign of a writer that cares how the story ultimately reads. I like tinkerers.

Bernita said...

It's not that I don't admire their skill in creating personas, AW, but I don't fantasize about either actors or their fictional characters.

No story is ever going to be perfect, Karen, but I think we should heed that inner niggle.

Nicole Kelly said...

I find that the nagging passages sit on my chest at night like the worry fairy, often urging me to wakefulness until I go fix the problem.

As for hot day distractions, I've been watching Angel for the first time. Speaking of demons ...

Gabriele C. said...

I don't fantasize about Paul Adrian, but there are some characters I like to watch even if I don't like the overall movie. And I've had a thing for Athos as teenager. :)

Josh said...

I just wanted to say thank you for the compliment on the short fiction contest. I look forward to seeing the results of all these great interpretations.

Bernita said...

Like a replay loop, Nicole or an itch twitch.
That's one I haven't watched, but I always perk up when they say "demons."

Some actors just express their parts so perfectly. I'll put up with mediocre stuff sometimes, just to see one do his particular part well.

Eh, Josh, you're welcome. Some truly good stuff at Jason's.

Angie said...

I like all the CSIs but Gil Grissom (the lead Vegas guy) just rocks. He's a wonderfully well developed character for network TV, both in and of himself and for his affect on the other characters. It's pretty rare that I look at a TV character and think, "I want to be able to create a character like that," but building someone like Grissom would be pretty cool.


Bernita said...

You've nailed it, Angie.
I think all the CSI leaders are excellent character studies.

Scott from Oregon said...

I've heard that expressing "kill your darlings" way too often to enumerate.

ARE YOU SHITTING ME? (pardon the outbreak)

Can you imagine Nabakov writing out Lolita. Light of my life, fire of my loins...

...and then thinking "hmmm... that's pretty good. I should get rid of it!"

Or Elliot, when he wrote "where late, the sweet bird sang..."

"Oh my! I like that far too much. It must be gone!"

So yes, I agree with you about the really ood stuff.

It is the stuff that feels wrong that probably is wrong.

Bernita said...

I agree, Scott.
Rather tired of that kill-your-darlings business myself. It negates the obvious fact that writers can and do learn to recognize good stuff, even in their own stuff.
"Where late the sweet birds sang" is from Shakespeare, btw, not Eliot.

LadyBronco said...

I think I may be in serious trouble, because my entire WiP is yelling at me.

I just can't tell if it's because it needs serious help, or if it's mad 'cause I haven't had the time to work very much on it lately.

Bernita said...

I'm sure it's the latter reason, Lady B.
Mouthy, aren't they.