Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thursday Review—Interview with an Internal Editor

Join me in welcoming Lynn Huggins Blackburn back as guest blogger!

Interview with an Internal Editor
by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

I successfully completed my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. It’s been a fantastic experience. However, my internal editor, well, let’s just say she sees things a bit differently. I thought you might enjoy eavesdropping on our conversation from earlier this week.

Lynn Huggins Blackburn (LHB): Hi!
Internal Editor (IE): I’m sorry. Did you say something?
LHB: You sound awful IE. Do you have a cold?
IE: No, I do not have a cold. I’ve been yelling at the top of my lungs for the past month.
LHB: Could I get you some, tea?
IE: I don’t want tea. I want answers. I want to know why you’ve been ignoring me. We were a team in September. Then November rolls around and it’s “See ya, IE.”
LHB: I thought I’d explained. It’s NaNoWriMo time. Time to churn out words and save the editing for later.
IE: You explained . . . and chose to ignore the fact that I told you this was a mistake. And I was right.
LHB: I don’t think so.
IE: You don’t. Well, let’s look at the facts, shall we. How about that little scene you wrote where your heroine spends 48-hours on a plane. Do you realize that unless the sun has started setting west to east, you’ve got some timeline issues?
LHB: Yeah, but—
IE: How about that subplot you started around 1/3 of the way in . . . and NEVER picked up.
LHB: I know I need to add a few—
IE: A few? You’ve left out the entire “suspense” subplot in the first 30K. I’m sorry, but you do claim to write romantic suspense, do you not?
LHB: I have some research to do—
IE: Ya think? I noticed all those notes you made in your Scrivener files. “Need to find out what kind of fish people catch off the Outer Banks.” You couldn’t take five minutes to find out?
LHB: Well, no. That’s the whole point. I’ll fix it while I’m editing and re-writing. I didn’t want to lose the flow of the story.
IE: Lose the flow . . . sweetheart, you barely have a story. You’ve got pages of drivel. By the way, do the initials R.U.E. mean anything to you?
LHB: Resist the Urge to Explain.
IE: Then how do you explain the way you seem to think your reader is an imbecile?
LHB: I think I’ll resist the urge to explain that.
IE: You think you’re funny, don’t you. Well, while you were enjoying your 30 days and nights of literary abandon, I’ve been looking at my new work load. In the 50K you’ve written so far, you used “was” 636 times. You can’t think that’s acceptable.
LHB: Some sentences will need to be re-written—
IE: And let’s not even get started on your pitiful excuses for speaker beats. How many times are you going have that poor girl nod her head or shrug? At least have her reach for a cup of coffee or brush a piece of lint off her pants.
LHB: People do shrug. Hey, did you just roll your eyes?
IE: Yeah. I did. But not as much as the characters in your story do.
LHB: Look, I get what you’re saying. But let me ask you this, what did you edit in October?
IE: Several blog posts, a book review, a few devotions.
LHB: Keep you busy?
IE: No, not really.
LHB: And how much do you have to work on now?
IE: 50,000 sloppy words. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.
LHB: Well, don’t worry. You’ve got some time.
IE: Time? What do you mean time? We’ve got to get busy.
LHB: Um . . . I thought you understood. The novel isn’t complete. I’ve got another 50K to write. I don’t think I’ll finish until January or February.
IE: You’ve got to be joking. You . . . you can’t do this to me! You need me!
LHB: I do. But not yet. I’ll touch base with you in a few months, OK?
IE: A few months? But . . . but . . .NOOOOOOOO!

She’s not very happy with me, I’m afraid. Poor thing has lost her voice completely. Not that she isn’t still mouthing insults at me. Still, she loves a challenge. I’m sure she’ll come around when I need her.

In January.

So how was your November? Did you dive into NaNoWriMo? Let us know how it went. And if your internal editor is still speaking to you.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. On her blog Out of the Boat she writes about faith and family while her blog Perpetual Motion documents the joys and challenges of loving and rearing a child with special needs. A graduate of Clemson University, Lynn lives in South Carolina where she writes, reads, knits, takes care of two amazing children, one fabulous man and one spoiled rotten Boston Terrier.


  1. Love this! Thanks Lynn, for writing!

  2. Lynn, you are just too funny! My internal editor was trying to get through to me, too, but I ignored her...except for misspelled words. I just can't leave a misspelled word, since spell check is a quick click of the mouse...
    Congratulations on your first 50,000 words! I can't wait to read your books when they come out! ;)

  3. Lynn, this is hilarious! Thank you for a good laugh this morning. BTW, I think you I.E. is related to my I.E. Does that make us sisters??? :-)

  4. Nicole - Thanks, and congrats on winning NaNo!
    Alycia - I'm with you. I cannot leave the misspelled words along. They drive me (and IE) insane!
    Vonda - Ooooh, I hope so! :-)

  5. And yet, I have a misspelled word in the comments...grrrr...I meant "alone", not "along". Oh well!

  6. Delightful and so very accurate. I think right now mine is still stronger than me. All my nano friends are going to have to teach me how to make mine shut up.
    Maybe I can lock her in the pantry where I keep my other unwanted but occasionally useful characters (yes, Charity, I brought up the pantry).

  7. So stinking funny! Love it! I think my IE has been doing the same thing...poor dear.

  8. This was so funny! I made my 50,000 words, and also left notes to myself to look certain things up. The last few days I did start to worry how hard it's going to be to clean this up, especially since I'm a newbie.

  9. Lynn, you are hilarious! Love it!

  10. Erynn, Tonya and Cathy - thanks! Jackie - I feel your pain. It will take months to fix this mess, no doubt about it. Congrats on winning NaNo!

  11. Cool post. I wasn't brave enough to leave my IE alone and try NaNoWriMo.

    I'm such a baby.