Monday, December 27, 2010

3 Reasons Why Your Internal Editor Sucks

*waves hello* Hope ya'll had an awesome Christmas!! And got TONS AND TONS of awesome presents!! Feel free to send some my way in case you didn't like them or anything :D

So. Last Monday, I blogged about 3 reasons why your Internal Editor rocks. As promised, today I'm defending the counterargument.

Ladies and gents, I give you...


1) You try to do too much all at once

Main Character has to get from Point A to Point B in a span of twenty chapters. You start mapping out each event as you go, or you outline before diving into the first draft. If Internal Editor steps in once you do start writing, everything might fall into place perfectly--your ending will make sense because you've secured coherence along the way. BUT Internal Editor wants everything to be perfect on Round One. Every. Single. Detail must be clear. Your writing must be lyrical/cynical/awesome, therefore your main focus becomes the novel as a whole. By doing this, you might give yourself a heart attack--tackling everything at the same time in one draft can be exhausting. Sure, it might be easier to revise a manuscript that has everything in its rightful place in just one try, but you have to be certain you can handle the pressure of being 150% aware of setting/mood/tone/character development/structure/pacing/voice all in one sitting.  Are you up for that challenge?
 2) You don't move ahead until Internal Editor says you can

Let's say Point A is sucking hard. You stop working on Other Events and make sure Point A rocks as much as possible. But what if the answer isn't as clear as you thought it was? A nice little session of brainstorming is in store, right? Well, what if during that brainstorming session, ideas for those Other Events come to life? And Point A can't seem to make any sense, no matter how hard you think about fixing it? Internal Editor might tell Other Events to take a hike until you figure out Point A. You will not type a single word of anything else. Period. To me, that's like putting your creative juices in a coma. Writing stops being fun and spontaneous and mind-blowingly great. It becomes stressful. All because Internal Editor wants everything to be perfect.

3) Writing becomes You vs. Internal Editor, not You and Internal Editor sitting in a tree

This is a direct result of reason #2. Most people expect the first draft to be messy. It's up to you to decide the degree of "messy" it is. Or is it? Internal Editor says "messy" is a curse word. How obscene of you to even think about writing scenes out of order, or experimenting with POV, or not delving too deeply into world-building on Round One *gasp* When you let Internal Editor in, your instincts might get a little jealous. They're being left out of the party. And whenever they try to go back in, Internal Editor slaps their wrists and says, "Excuse me, I am BETTER than you and you are uber-stupid." Or, you know, something along those lines... Point is, you might start a war with yourself. One no first draft should be subjected to. Mistakes are allowed on Round One, aren't they? Well, don't be afraid to make them. There's nothing wrong with listening to your gut, even if it makes zero sense. You get to worry about sense later on. That's what draft two/three/four/onethousand is for.

So there you go. Internal Editors can rock or suck. In order to stay mentally sane, you have to choose which team you're on, or find a balance between the two.

In the end, it's all up to you.

Now tell me: any other reasons why Internal Editors suck?


  1. I totally agree with all that. I find that the more I write, the worse my internal editor gets. I used to be able to ignore the mess I was creating as I went along, but now? Sheesh. My internal editor has gone from schoolmarm to drill sergeant and I can't complete a sentence without going back to change something in it.

    Another reason Internal Editors are a pain is that they can suck all the spontaneity out of a piece of work if you let 'em. There is such a thing as too much editing and a chapter can become dry as dust if the vampiric inner editor gets its fangs in too much.

  2. I think you pretty much nailed it! My biggest problem is moving on without corrections. I can't stand those darned colored lines!

  3. Yep, those are all spot on. My internal editor is a pain. You know what I do to turn it off? I put on some music to distract it. Seriously, it works.

  4. I agree with you--the Internal Editor can be such an annoyance.

  5. My Internal Editor seems to go on and on and on...No matter how perfect I think it is - she will rewrite it ten more times.

  6. This post probably more represents my I.E. than the positive one you last wrote. But maybe there's something I can learn from this. Maybe I can talk my I.E. into being a partner rather than a taskmaster. Great insights, Amparo!


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