The Treaty with Edie

Rilla sorts out writer-ish things with Edie, her rather critical inner editor.

Rilla: Okay, Edie. We’ve been working together for some time, and I think you need to understand something I’ve figured out about me—us.

Edie: And that is…

Rilla: I write for the joy of it. I truly believe we’re not seeing eye-to-eye on this, and I need you to get onboard so I can finish The Zorce Collection.

Edie: Meaning, you want me to stop being honest? You’d rather I didn’t tell you the uninteresting, unpolished, unprintable things you write are trash and need to be burned?

Rilla: Yeah. Pretty much.

Edie: I can do that. In fact, I have no problem letting you wallow in the mire of your own dumb compositions.

Rilla: Now Edie, you’re a good editor. You’ve saved me from a lot of mistakes, I grant you–

Edie: And this is the gratitude I receive for being there for you at all hours? All hours! Because you know I wake you in the middle of the night so you can know about that typo in the comment you posted yesterday! Who else would be as concerned about your image? Protecting you has been my top priority for over thirty years now, and all you can say is, ‘You’re a good editor, Edie, now shut it’? I see how it is.

Rilla: That’s not what I said, Edie. Nobody’s doubting your loyalty here. I don’t want you to quit; I just want you to look at our work as a personal reflection rather than a marketable product.

Edie: ‘Our work.’ Thank you; I appreciate that. So, you’re saying the trilogy you’ve been wrestling with for years is now a personal reflection? You’re going to spend—who knows how many—years to complete three books, and then you want to stick it in your little diary and call it a day?

Rilla: Yes. That is exactly what I mean.

Edie: (jaw-drop) What a waste of your life! Why would you want to do that?

Rilla: It’s simple. I need the freedom to write what I want to write without thinking of who’s going to look at it and what it’s going to make them think. We did that last time, remember? Where did it get us?

Edie: (nodding) I see your point. We’ve been trying to peg this story down for almost a decade.

Rilla: Ugh. Don’t say that.

Edie: Well, it’s true. But, I will admit, you’ve been able to eke out a few good stories, even while you were blocked.

Rilla: Thank you. So, what do you think? If we work on The Zorce Collection as a reflection of our life rather than a product, how would that change the approach?

Edie: Well, obviously, I wouldn’t have to stop you mid-scene to ask if the scene itself is really necessary.

Rilla: Yes.

Edie: The dialogue could be as long as you want it. The word count wouldn’t matter.

Rilla: Yes.

Edie: Ooo, here’s a big one: I wouldn’t have to alert you every time you divulge something that hints at your own painful experiences.

Rilla: Bingo, Edie. That’s the one that’s holding us back.

Edie: So, are you calling this a memoir now?

Rilla: Absolutely not! This is Casey and Ivan’s story. They need to be able to speak, and they can say what they need to say much better if they don’t have a self-conscious author in the mix second-guessing and censoring herself.

Edie: I see.

Rilla: What do you think? Can we give this a go?

Edie: You know how I despise that long-winded garble you call your style. Will I have to wade through that again? I refuse to work with you unless I can still rip apart the scenes that don’t speak the way I think they should.

Rilla: I’ll make you a deal; if you’ll give me time to get the scenes out on paper, I’ll take you page-by-page, through the section when we’ve finished. You can clean it up to your heart’s content.

Edie: It has to be crisp. You know that’s very important to me. Clean and crisp.

Rilla: Well?

Edie: I’m willing to try it. Anything to get this monstrosity out of our head.

Rilla: Thank you, Edie.

Edie: And when we’re done, who knows? Maybe you’ll want to publish it anyway, and…

Rilla: No. Edie.

Edie: I don’t see why. Can’t you just think about that an itsy-bitsy bit?

Rilla: No. We write The Zorce Collection, and it’s done. That will free us to work on (whispers name of fully-written children’s story draft).

Edie: Ah. Yes, that’s been dangling there for some time.

Rilla: Are we agreed?

Edie: We never agree, but I will concede with this one set of stories–which is all I’m giving you!

Rilla: Good enough.

Edie Crosses the Line

InnerEdie: Ouch! Rilla, did you just see that post with the typo in the title?

RillaWriter: Yes, but it’s not a big deal.

Edie: Not a big deal! Imagine if it were your post! How would you feel if no one told you, and it just dangled there forever?

Rilla: I would survive, Edie. You’re overreacting.

Edie: I suppose you’re right. I mean, that blogger isn’t a writer…

Rilla: Exactly.

Edie: See? See! You think you’re superior. Ha! It’s not just me.

Rilla: (gasp)

Edie: Ha!

Rilla: Wow, you’re right.

Edie: I know I am!

Rilla: I should read that post.

Edie: What? You’re going to read it? What if there are more mistakes?

Rilla: (Click)

Edie: “Oh, no. Oh, no. I can’t read it. I can’t.”

Rilla: “Aw. It’s really sweet. It’s about a thoughtful gift from a friend, and—

Edie: Hey, do you think you might comment? Because if you commented, you could slip in something like, “By the way, it’s not ‘their,’ it’s ‘they are/they’re.’” And then you could smooth it over with “Heh, I make that mistake all the time!”

Rilla: No, Edie. I don’t even know that person.

Edie: All the more reason you should say it!

Rilla: No, Edie.

Edie: How would you feel if you were that blogger?

Rilla: I would want someone to tell me if I made a typo in the title of a post, okay? But that does not mean everyone thinks like I do!

Edie: Definitely not. Right now is a good example.

Rilla: Shut-up.

Edie: Just say something about the typo. Say it very nicely, and I will be so, so quiet. I will even give you mental hugs and high-fives, and we will both be blissfully happy!

Rilla: (Click)

Edie: Why’d you leave that blog?

Rilla: Because you ruined it for me. I can’t read it.

Edie, knowingly: You found another typo, didn’t you?

Rilla: No…

Edie: Yes you did.

Rilla: I found three more, okay? Are you satisfied? I’m snobbier than before, and I blame you entirely!

Edie, smugly: Thank you.

Edie: Hey, look. It’s another one! He typed ‘form’ instead of ‘from!’

Rilla: Arghhhh. (headdesk)

January Learning Curve

Ahhhh. I made it. I made it! It’s the last day of January, and I’ve proven to myself I can post every weekday and not shrivel up and die. I’ve come close to it a couple of times, but here I am—cringing at typos, misspelled words, badly structured sentences, etc.—still breathing into my paper bag.

And now you want to know what I’ve learned from this exercise. Right? Right.

  • I’ve learned that it’s a nice to break away from solely novel-writing topics and write about the miscellaneous just for kicks.
  • I’ve learned I can express various moods in my blog. I can write an intensely serious post and attempt to be entertaining in the next. Maybe there’s a Versatile Blogger lurking in me yet.
  • I can scribble something halfway decent about almost anything that piques my interest—except prunes and bathroom talk. Those two just aren’t my thing, and I’m okay with that.
  • I’ve had more interaction with my WordPress friends in January than in past months. It’s nice to be online more often to give and receive little encouragements. Plus, I’m now following more great blogs.
  • The most valuable thing I think I’ve learned this month is to write like I speak. My sister read over my entries and came to my November post, Desperate Times Call for Christmas Card Envelopes. She mentioned that some of my sentences were too long to follow and “paroxysms” wasn’t a word one should toss into a blog post. I’m sure that was Inner Edie’s fault. She tends to go overboard. I forgive her, of course. She tries. It’s possible she’s mellowed a tiny bit since this exercise began. I’m afraid to ask yet.

And now I am dying to get back to my WIP! I’ve missed, missed, missed it! I’ve only allowed myself to edit Dragonfly Prince. I’m on page 206 of 473. I’ve made a good dent, and I’m feeling quite confident in the flow of the dialogue and pace of the story. In February, I hope to set the ending and prologue in order. I feel like everything else is on target.

Here at home I’ve begun a new project: a kids’ newsletter for our co-op group. Once I have that off the ground, I’ll be returning to the sequel to Dragonfly Prince, which is spinning like a top in my head, gathering details. I have the outline and some of the early scenes down already, but the new ending to the first book has changed the characters’ motivations wonderfully in the second.

And guess what I received as an after Christmas present? A new computer chair! (Notice I didn’t snap the picture in front of my messy desk. Uh-heh)

my cushy new chair (Yes, our Christmas tree was still up well after Christmas.)

I’m very happy with my new chair.

Yep, that's me. Yep, that's still my Christmas tree.
Yep, that’s me. And that’s still my Christmas tree.

My goal for the month of February is to post on Mondays and Thursdays. That way I won’t miss you too much. 🙂

Inner Edie Gives Her Opinion

RillaWriter: Good morning, Inner Edie!

Inner Editor: It’s only good if you tell me you’re not going to keep posting every workday this week.

RWriter: Then… Morning, Edie!

Inner Ed: That’s what I thought. Here’s the thing: I’ve already caught some really stupid mistakes since you’ve started this. One of them was using “new” instead of “knew.” Should this surprise me, Rilla? It does not.

RWriter: Well, isn’t that exciting!

Inner Ed: You’re not listening to me.

RWriter: You’re right, I’m not. Know why? Because this exercise is all about helping my Inner Editor take a backseat for a bit.

(silence)

No hard feelings, right?

(crickets chirp)

Right?

Inner Ed: Just remember this when the blog blows up in your face.

RWriter: When it does, you can purse your lips and say “I told you so” all you want.

Inner Ed: Oh, I will. And, by the way, I didn’t appreciate the post where you told the Blogosphere I misspell ‘copyright.’ That was between you and me.

RWriter: Sorry for admitting you’re not perfect.

Inner Ed: And you did a terrible impression of Gollum. It should be something like, “He wouldn’tses, Preciousss.”

RWriter: That looks stupid.

Inner Ed: And writing about Brain Teaser month doesn’t?

RWriter: I’m free-penning January, Edie. It’s meant to loosen up my literary tongue. I’m liberating my creative voice and freeing the artist—

Inner Ed: Yeah right. You hate it.

RWriter: Okay, so it would kill me if I tried to keep it up—

Inner Ed: And your blog readers would disown you…

RWriter: Maybe, but right now I think it’s kinda fun!

Inner Ed: You would. (sighs) Fine. You get this month, and I take next month—deal?

RWriter: We’ll see…

Inner Ed: I don’t believe you.

RWriter: How ‘bout I promise not to post more than twice a week in February?

Inner Ed: That’s a little better. What are we posting in February?

RWriter: You’ll see.

Inner Ed: Oh no.