Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Here we are, the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the next Insecure Writer's Support Group.

So this last weekend I had breakfast with the Awesome Hannah, and lunch with the Awesome Tricia. And there was a lot of talk about writing, as usual.

In both meals I mentioned my fear of laziness. I know I've talked before about how I tend towards laziness. It's just a personal flaw of mine.

So I was talking about revisions, and I mentioned about how sometimes I'm so worried that I'm not working hard enough.

Like maybe I'll get to a line. Something like "I pictured Val in his leathers."

And my first instinct is that I'm doing too much telling there, instead of showing. But then I think, well, in this case is it okay for her to say she's imagining someone? Because it's not like imagining is an emotion, that carries with it physical responses. You can't even really describe it.
So then I think, maybe this is one of those times where it's okay to leave this line as is. As long as I don't tell like this too often, it's okay for a bit of telling.

BUT. And this is the big but for me (tee hee. Big but...). I can't help but worry, am I being lazy here? Am I cutting corners because in my cursory revisions I can't think of a way to show "imagining?"

And then I start to worry. Where else am I falling back on my tendency to take the easy way out. Because I don't want to do that. I want to work hard. I want to get better. I want to reach my goals. But sometimes I have a hard time of knowing when something's okay, when my skills just aren't up to par, and when I'm just not putting in the effort or hard work.

I wish it was easier for me to tell the difference. I think it may get easier the better I become, but until then, I'm stuck wondering "is this okay? Or am I being lazy?"



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I believe that's called over-thinking!
Leave it for now. When you do the next pass, if it still bugs you, then you know you need to change it.
And yes, I am ambitiously lazy!! Join me.

Matthew MacNish said...

If that's just an example for an examples sake, I wouldn't worry about it. But if that particular line sticks in your mind, it's probably for a reason.

The best critique partners are the ones who tell you where you need to dig deeper. Hold on tight if you find one of those.

And now all I can think about is going out to breakfast with you guys. Perkins would be nice, but Key's Cafe would be nicer.

stu said...

I think particularly with the showing v telling thing, people get carried away. It is physically impossible to show something using the printed word. All we have are levels of directness and verbosity, and that is more a question of personal voice than laziness.

E. Arroyo said...

Oh, jeeze. I thought I was the only one. Try overthinking the right verb, or color. We can go nuts. It's why I love crit partners and betas. After my eyes have crossed, they step up to the plate. =)

Catherine Stine said...

Sometimes it is hard to know the difference between being lazy and not being ready to totally write a scene. Sometimes I find myself hesitating to write and it turns out that I haven't yet visualized it enough.

Ninja Girl said...

I feel you, Falen. This happens to me sometimes, too. I'll be writing, and then I'm like, "Wait. Is that okay or do I need to..." Anwya, right now, I'm just trying to write, write, write this ms. But obviously, when I go back, I'll probably have editing to do. Trying not to edit as I go--but it's hard :).
Anyway, I know that's not really what you were talking about, but I hope you have a great one!
Ninja Girl

Rena said...

Yeah, I totally have a streak of lazy. Whenever I go for a rewrite, I always check what I wrote the first time and think "Wait, why isn't this good enough?"

I struggle with that for a long time before I finally just do the rewrite.

And when I worry that I'm cutting corners, I start looking at sentences and just trying them differently. like same sentence but changing the order of everything. like "An image of Val in leathers flared in my mind." (yeah, that's clunky, but you get what I mean).

Ashley Nixon said...

lol. I agree with Alex--lots of over thinking. I have caught myself being lazy. I've recognized that I was telling rather than showing, but I also realized that the reason I didn't fix it, is because I didn't know how at the moment. That's when I leave things to sit for a while and come back to them later.

Tricia Conway said...

Le gasp! Did mine eyes deceive me, or did Matt just bring up Keys? FYI, kids--I'm TOTALLY crashing that breakfast if it happens. You heard it here, first.

I don't think you, of ALL the writerly peeps I know (admittedly, not many), are lazy. I think you have a knack for when to give more, and when to let the reader's mind fill in the rest. Any more and it would feel forced.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I think you're over thinking the problem :) Step away from it for a little while and come back to it with fresh eyes and see how it reads. Being too close to it will make it hard to make a decision.


Teebore said...

Oh my god, you are the least lazy person I know. *I'm* lazy; you're freakishly efficient and hardworking. I'm pretty sure you do more writerly stuff in a day than I do in a month, so you've got a long ways to go before you need to worry about being lazy.

As for that specific line, I think you're fine leaving it. It's not an emotion, like you said. Don't over think it.

DL Hammons said...

My CP's and Beta's aren't afraid to let me know when I give them lazy writing. They are a reality check that I cannot do without! :)

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