Misadventures in Editing: Don’t Bite the Hand that Writes You!

Ever wondered what a writer goes through when editing a work-in-progress?  Here’s your chance to find out.  Take a look at some of the conversations I’ve had with my characters while editing my current novel. If something like this has ever happened to you, please tell me in the comments.

Yes, this is a door knob. Yes, I've lost my mind. Photo by A. Marie Silver
Yes, this is a door knob. Yes, I’ve lost my mind.
Photo by A. Marie Silver

“No, no,” Dr. Palmer said, shaking his head. “I can’t have a meeting with this client on day 22 because you shut my practice down on day 16.” He tapped his index finger on my outline. “See! It says right here, ‘Dr. Palmer’s license is suspended.’ This is your handwriting, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes.” I sighed. “Of course it is. And I’m adding a scene with that client.  Don’t worry, I’ll fix it later.”

Dr. Palmer clapped his hands, rubbing them together.  “Do I get to kill her?”

“No.” I shook my head.

“Then why the second scene?”

“I’m using it to set something else up,” I said, erasing a mistake I made on one section of the outline.

“But I don’t like that patient,” he began, “she’s an idiot.”

“She’s funny!”

“She’s an imbecile,” he argued.

“Normal people don’t use words like imbecile,” I said.

“My dear girl,” Dr. Palmer began, “I seriously doubt you created me so that I could be normal?”

Touche.

“Now really,” he said, sounding aggravated. “What is that?” he asked, pointing to something on my outline.

“What’s what?” I could see where he was pointing but had no idea what the problem was.  Don’t you just love that? When your characters see a mistake you can’t find?

“That!” His frustration with me was mounting. “That is not a word.  Good Lord! Where did you learn how to spell?”

“Hey!” I snapped.  “One more word out of you and you’re going back in the straight jacket with a muzzle.” I erased the offending word and rewrote it so that it was no longer misspelled.

“That’s not right either!” he yelled.  “It’s the wrong tense.” He sighed, scratching his forehead. “What I wouldn’t do to work with a professional writer.”

“Okay!” I tossed the outline on the floor and opened up my laptop.  “That was the last straw!”

“What are you going to do?” he asked. “Smack me around with a bunch of interrobangs? That’s the only punctuation mark you haven’t cluttered this manuscript with. Your obsession with commas is mind-boggling.”

“Worse.” My fingertips pounded away on my poor, defenseless keyboard.

“Ouch!” Dr. Palmer grabbed the top of his head – but not for long because without much warning, the straight jacket reappeared, wrapping around his upper body. “My head! Ms. Silver, what have you done with my head?”

“3-2-1,” I counted.

And as easy as that, Dr. Palmer had a fancy pair of horns sticking out of his head. He glanced at himself in the mirror.  “I can’t be seen like this! Fix me! At once!”

“Eventually.” Granted, I’m not writing a Sci-Fi, so the horns will have to go, but for now, I’ll leave them.  Maybe that will teach him a lesson.

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4 thoughts on “Misadventures in Editing: Don’t Bite the Hand that Writes You!

  1. Even though I don’t have demanding characters running around in my head, I enjoy reading about yours. One of my fiction writer friends has shared that she handles a similar problem by sending all her characters to a nice hotel and spa to relax until she gets back to them. Maybe that would work? But then you wouldn’t have anything to write about in your blog. And your entries are fun to read!

    1. Thank you! I guess I’m a tad sadistic. I love torturing my characters. It helped spin the wheel of writing inspiration. Does your friend blog about her characters? I’d love to read it.

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