Friday, April 24, 2009

Honesty and Eloquence

I’m going to use yesterday’s post to transition into my thoughts today. It’s been argued that Miss California’s response wasn’t very eloquent. I thought about that and here’s what I came up with…honesty is seldom poetic. As mothers we know this all too well. Some of us have heard things like “Mommy, you smell.” Or “Why is your tummy so fat?” Or maybe you’ve had conversations like this:
Kid: “Where are we going, mommy?”
Mom: “Nowhere, why?”
Kid: “Cuz your dressed.”
Or maybe this one:
Kid: “Who’s coming over?”
Mom: “No one, why?”
Kid: “We only clean when someone comes over.”
I’m sure you can contribute to the many times honesty has been thrown in our faces by our children. But can we really fault their honesty? Think about Simon Cowell on American Idol. He is often brutally honest, to the point of rudeness, but the point is conveyed. He usually uses the same words every time to describe a performance, atrocious, karaoke, horrid. Not too many people would ever call him eloquent(except for maybe him!), but I don’t think anyone can say he’s not honest.

I am kind of a quiet person when you first meet me. I like to observe, and think about what I’m saying. I guard my tongue and over analyze everything I’m going to say which often results in me saying nothing. Mind you I’m just talking about the first few times I meet someone. After I get to know them better and can gauge their reactions, then I can speak more freely though still making sure I don’t say anything that could possibly offend. (Though I know there have been times I have offended anyway) But when I’m writing, I have learned to take away those filters. When I first started writing my family blog, I stuck to photos and brief explainations. Then one time I decided to go ahead and rant on my blog about a bad day I had. I had soooo much more responses then when I carefully chose my words. Honesty strikes a chord with us. But let’s face it, when we are writing for publication, we have to try to make honesty eloquent. Anyone that has written a first draft knows that it’s not poetic, but it is honest. So how do we bring those two elements together? …No really, how do we do it? (Did you think I was going to really have the answer??? Come on people, I’m on my third complete rewrite! I have no idea what I’m doing!) Part of the answer I think is to get honest critiques. It may hurt, but we need to delight in the honesty. But remember that honest responses are also subjective. One person’s horrid performance is another’s favorite. But here’s where I have a hard time; choosing the words that make the story flow but still convey honesty. My question to all of you is how do you balance the two? Is it something that just happens for you, or do you have to work at it? What systems do you use? What are your thoughts?


  1. I personally LOVE the first draft because it's so exciting... and it's fast and fun and raw and all new. So It's just amazing thinking that you've created this story and the characters are doing what you want and need them to do (Well, when they're behaving) but you control this whole universe/world of your own where anything can happen!

    But when you go through it for a rewrite that's when the reality begins. Now is the time when you show and explain what is happening in your scenes. As you edit and rewrite you know the ending now, so you can go back with even greater knowledge and respect for your characters and what they will be facing. You get the opportunity to smooth it out and flesh out scenes and really show people your vision. I find editing while hard to be vastly exciting, because now your story is not just a story anymore it's on its way to becoming a book.

    I also think the more involved and exciting and amazing the book is, the more it will HAVE to rewrite itself. It will have to, because every time you go through smoothing things out and sharing more vision, more of the story will reveal itself to you and you'll learn things about your world you never imagined. And it's the complex stories that sell the best in the end anyway.

  2. I write honestly at first, then look it over and rewrite it again. At this time I like to walk away from it for a couple of minutes to days and then I can see it from another angle. Then something better comes to me. If you don't start somewhere you will never begin. If you never begin you will never reach your just keep that in mind :)

  3. some of my fave authors just have a knack of writing from the heart and not in a sappy, overblown way. To try and keep my writing style "real," I keep these authors & their words in my mind's eye when I'm writing. that has helped me.



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