Much like Audrey II in the Little Shop of Horrors I have a craving. While my craving isn’t human flesh, it does grow more intense as it’s fed.
My craving is feedback. When I finish a bit of writing that I’ve struggled over, I want to be fed: Did you understand his motivation? Was her coyness overplayed? Can you see where I’m going with this? Or, any one of a hundred alternative inquiries. In the end, they all boil down to: Did you like it?
Then I rewrite the piece, and it starts over again. My almost infinitely patient Alpha Reader A.K.A. wife had suffered through my addiction for more than a reasonable period when she finally had enough. “I’ll read it when you’re done. Leave me be until then.” She didn’t mean “done” as in published. She meant “done” as in “I” think it’s done. Don’t be so sensitive, I think, but I say, “Yes Dear.”
Feed me, Seymour—even the Dentist hasn’t been enough. So, I send the first chapter of my WIP to a Beta Reader client, and a literature professor to boot, and ask for her thoughts. She gives me insightful comments based on the chapter; however, they feel off as if she were reading a different story. Oh well. It’s not her genre, I tell myself.
Okay, I can do this. I quit cigarettes, ergo I can quit anything, I tell myself. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that my repeated attempts to quit cigarettes failed for decades until I had a spinal cord injury and spent several months in hospitals. But that’s a different story.) I am giving up the instant feedback craving. Because I’ve learned, I don’t truly want it. It is distracting. Positive responses are nice for a moment, but the feeling quickly subsides. Negative responses seem more meaningful at first blush but end up wasting your time focusing on things you probably would have revised without the feedback.
I am giving up the instant feedback craving. Because I’ve learned, I don’t truly want it. It is distracting. Positive responses are nice for a moment, but the feeling quickly subsides. Negative responses seem more meaningful at first blush but end up wasting your time focusing on things you probably would have revised without the feedback.
Is there a moral to this story? Sure, there is. Don’t seek feedback until you’ve vetted your work thoroughly. Once you’ve done that, do it once more after letting it rest a bit and reading it as you would as a beta reader and then revise again. Then you may seek feedback from third parties. Analyze the feedback and apply what feels right and throw the rest in the trash bin. Don’t keep feeding Audrey II.
I know. I won’t do it either.
David P. Cantrell © 2016.
This is the ongoing evolution, or is it a revolution, of a short story that wants to be more.
The Gates of Fire and Ash started out as a lark. A fun concept prompted by a fellow writer. Five thousand words Rachel said. Being a woman it seems odd to say fellow, but that’s English.
Three weeks ago, I posted about my struggles with Chapter 14–I can’t believe it’s been that long–I could blame my one-fingered typing brought on by a spinal cord injury for my slow production but to be honest, I was, at best, a three-fingered typist before the injury.
The truth is my story is fighting me.
The original goal of explaining the evil crowen in Chapter 14 was usurped, and Chapter 13 was revised to do the job. Chapter 14 got our travelers settled in Road’s End and foreshadowed the Fire Cloaks that absorbed Chapter 16. Chapter 15 provided a bit of comic relief (I hope).
Okay, the next chapter, number 17 with a working title of Recon, should be easy I tell myself. Send Dallaya and Royar to gather reconnaissance from a retired guy, Teador, that lives a few miles outside of town so that a major plot point can be revealed. In the meantime, Nantor, a competitor for Dallaya’s affections, will be sent to the docks to show he’s unworthy.
Everything’s going well until our prospective lovebirds stop for lunch and their evil birds of a feather, the crowen, attack. Darn. I’m two-thirds through the chapter, and we haven’t met Teador. But, it’s okay. They’ll get to Teador’s home, get their wounds treated and in the morning we’ll learn the plot point. Nantor can wait until the next chapter.
But, noooo. Teador won’t have it. He insists on joining the quest and Chapter 17 turns into two chapters.
The slog continues. The end is shrouded in fog, and I fear it may be beyond my reach.
(c) 2016 by David P. Cantrell
Have you every wonder what would happen if you played along with a spammer? I did. When a friend’s Facebook account was hacked last year I responded. The spammer sent me a private message that started innocently enough, but the first response told me I wasn’t communicating with the Chris I knew. A transcript of what ensued follows.
8/18, 7:19pm (Note: Originally, my friends profile picture and name appeared. FB changed the information when the hacked account was removed.)Facebook User
Federal Government and World Bank is doing this to reduce unemployment and secure economy stability also eradicate poverty in the country, to help the retired, unemployed, disabled, and to help the whole country and worldwide in general. I got my funds delivered to me with the help of an agent in-charge.. Do you have his Fb contact or Text phone # or email, should i give it to you now?
Susan Carol Schwab is the manager in-charge text them on (980) 262-0771 you can mail them as well email@example.com and tell them that you are ready so that they can bring your own money to you at home too
Susan Carol Schwab is the manager in-charge text them on (980) 262-0771 you can mail them as well firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them that you are ready so that they can bring your own money to you at home too (Note: I didn’t repeated the original by mistake.)
The spammer’s command of the English language lent credibility to his claim of California residency, but no American would say “100K USD.” I’m pretty sure he was lying.
Before you shake your head at the spammer’s stupidity, give thought to the idea that enough people must fall for the con job to make it worth his while. That prospect is frightening. It’s no wonder Trump is doing well.
I awoke next to a woman that would eventually become my wife. We’d spent the night dining, drinking and smoking too many cigarettes. I lay on my back contemplating how badly my mouth tasted when I heard her stirring. I said, “I’m going to kill that cat.”
“What cat?” she asked sleepily.
“The one that peed in my mouth.”
We laughed harder than the joke deserved, I think because it broke the morning-after tension. Thirty-nine years later and we still laugh at the memory.
(c) 2016 By David P. Cantrell