Friday, August 28, 2009

Ya Think?

I may have over-extended myself a bit: volunteering to judge two contests...three actually if you count the one that starts in November, participating in a critique group, trying to maintain two blogs, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, posting promos, chatting and even moderating two loops and maintaining a publisher's Myspace page. In addition I babysit my grandson in the afternoons. No wonder my head is spinning.

So far, judging is the biggest challenge.While reading a few entries, it dawned on me that once you've become an editor, it is very hard to JUST read a story for the story itself. Oh, as the judge, you're supposed to point out obvious flaws and deduct points, but I can't stop focusing on things I've learned that some other authors obviously haven't, and it stops me dead in my tracks. It wouldn't be fair to fault them because before someone pointed out the obvious to me, I was guilty of the same things. For example:

If we are in Cindy's POV, thoughts, realizations, and feelings are assumed to be her's, right? There are just some things you don't need to spell out for the reader if it's a "given." Of course, I won't dwell on the annoyances for me of reading could hear, to sit, and would run. Why not just heard, sat and ran? You realize of course, I've really created a mess in the following paragraph and smoothed out the second. *smile* So which do you prefer:

Cindy realized the temperature had dropped drastically. She could feel goose bumps forming on her unexposed arms. She should have brought a jacket. Feeling totally unprepared, she knew if she hugged herself, she would feel warmer. She thought of building a fire, but didn't have any matches. She knew if she huddled against the tree, the trunk would provide respite from the growing wind.

The temperature plummeted. Goose bumps peppered Cindy's exposed airs. Why hadn't she brought a jacket? She embraced herself against the cold. A fire would be nice, but she didn't have matches either. Not very prepared to be caught out in the elements. She huddled against the tree. At least the thick trunk provided some respite from the growing wind.

How do you feel when you read the following? "she reached to turn off the light." As an editor, I see 'to turn' as considering the deed, but always wonder...did she do it? Unless she had the lamp in her lap, she had to reach. I think I've gone over the editorial edge. Someone throw me a rope and pull me back.


Paige Ryter said...

I'm waving my hand...I'm GUILTY!!! I do all those things and try to edit them out, but it's really tough.

Now when I write, I'm going to try to self-edit for those things. least I'm TRYING! HAHAHAH!!! My kids would sayd I'm TRYING all the time, but I doubt they mean the same thing. ::tee-hee::

Anyway, thank you! This is very helpful!

Margaret Tanner said...

Me too me too, she cried. I am guilty, try not to be, but I am.
Good article Ginger.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Good points, Ginger. I try to catch those things in my writing, but I do dread to read my first two stories....

Katie Hines said...

OMG, Ginger, we are the same! I commiserate with you so totally.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great points! Love how you gave strong examples.

I'm guilty of over extending, as well. :) Try to have fun with the contests.


Maggie Dove said...

Great article, Ginger. I don't know how you do so much!

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