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Cleaning up

Whenever I have company coming, I notice things that have been invisible to me for weeks. Dust on the end table, a pair of socks in the corner that I’ve walked past 100 times, writing paraphernalia stacked on the table. When I look at my house through the eyes of a guest, I see all sorts of dirt and clutter.

My manuscript is the same way. When I look at it through a reader’s eyes, problems pop out all over the place. If I know that someone else is going to read my work, the dirty socks and dust bunnies are suddenly visible. I still miss some spots, I’m sure, but just the act of getting my MS ready for my critique partner, or posting a sample scene from my work on this blog, changes my perspective.

The real challenge for me is maintaining that reader’s perspective. How do you do it?

The Daily Squirrel: watchband

She tugged the watchband, pulling it tight to get it buckled, and the damn thing snapped. The watch bounced off the edge of the rug and slid under her dresser. She didn’t have time for this. Snatching up her leather tote, she hustled out the door and walked briskly toward the metro.

If she weren’t in heels, she’d be tempted to run. Why hadn’t she set a backup alarm? She should have anticipated a power outage when the thunderstorm started. Now, she might miss her only chance to get Dave Arnault’s business. They’d met several times, and he seemed interested in her graphic design work, but this was the formal meeting that would make or break the deal.

Just outside the station entrance a voice behind her said, “Excuse me, ma’am. Do you have the time? I think I’m running late for a meeting, but I forgot my watch.”

She glanced at her bare wrist. “Sorry.” She turned to look at him and had to laugh when she recognized his face. “Dave?”

0 Comments

  1. Christine

    Reply

    You are so brave. You post on line. I won’t do it. I’m too too chicken.
    I love your analogy!

  2. Martha W

    Reply

    I keep saying it, Christine, you’re better than you give yourself credit for. You just have to work up the nerve for the first time and after that… well, it’s still nerve-wracking but you’ve already done it once, so what the heck?! *grin*

    Gwen, How true. My problem is that sometimes the dust bunnies don’t expose themselves until I’ve already sent it for crit. Ergh. Then I feel like an idiot. (And you are never stupid for sharing the gift you have!)

    Great squirrel… 😉

    • Reply

      It’s true. We have to drag Christine kicking and screaming into the world of improv writing. 😉

      I know how you feel about not seeing things until after you send the story off. I hate getting back contest entries and realizing that I’ve changed a lot of the elements the judges commented on. If only I’d noticed before I sent the MS off…

      I guess that’s why an MS is never done until it’s in print.

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