BeKindRewrite’s Voice Week challenge ran from November 4th through November 8th (has that really been two weeks ago already?!?) and it was one of the most interesting challenges I’ve taken on in a long while. The premise itself – to tell the same story from five different points of view – is unique and much like the movie Vantage Point, so I knew right away I would join in; after all, anything is easier than National Novel Writing Month right? Choosing the subject was easy but developing five distinct voices was more difficult than I thought. Now that I’ve had time to reflect upon the pieces I wrote, I’ve come to an interesting conclusion. The first two pieces I wrote were structurally the weakest, though they took the longest to write. As the week passed, my pieces were stronger and through concrete action, I told the stories of a football coach, a drunk fan and an elderly alumni who wanted to see his team beat their hated rivals one last time. Those pieces only took about fifteen minutes or so to write, and my work was better than the earlier ones, which took about an hour a piece to write.
Hmmm….what’s up with that?
I’ve been talking with Bill, as he’s the only other person in my life who’s a writer, and as my husband, I trust his advice implicitly. He seems to think that my weaknesses in my writing (ok that’s my word not his) come from two places: 1) I am a “pantser” when I write and 2) my internal editor kicks in while I’m writing and interferes with my natural creative flow. A “pantser” is someone who just sits down and writes, flying by the seat of their pants, with no real idea of where the story is going. This is the way I’ve always written, and I do tend to veer off into too much description when I do this. I didn’t intend to have Jack play for his dad or have issues with it, and I think I got too much into explaining his backstory because I was trying to figure out where I was going as I wrote. If I’d planned on going in that direction before I started, I probably would have cut out the first paragraph and just focused on his interaction with his father, which would have made a tighter scene. The second issue we discussed is my internal editor. This doesn’t relate to my “show don’t tell” issue, but it certainly interferes with my ability to just let myself go and write; instead I look back a few sentences, think something stinks and start to rewrite before I’ve even finished a paragraph. I think I cut down on my internal editor as the week went on because, quite frankly, I was just trying to get stuff posted and didn’t really spend that much time on my work. That seemed to work better for me, though, which seems counterintuitive. My internal editor wants to slap me with a wet carp when that happens. I am learning to duck. Thank you to my readers who gave me such great constructive criticism over the course of those five days. Now I just need to go and rewrite:)