Day Twenty-Five: A Dance With Johnny Walker

Have holed myself up on my father’s couch with a bag of throat lozenges and an insanely fluffy comforter (feeling ill). The weekend’s wedding was wonderful. I’m not a huge wedding person, though. I think they’re great parties but I can’t, for the life of me, think of a good reason why I’d personally choose to get married so that cynicism has a tendency to spill over at times like these. They’re wonderful people though, and I wish them the most wonderful future together.

Love confounds me in a way. No, not love. Love is the act of confounding a person so that’s pretty straightforward. Maybe it’s just marriage that leaves me grasping at pins. What’s the reason for it? I think it’s a well-meaning reassurance, perhaps. But I don’t think I’ll ever be optimistic or determined enough to slap a guarantee on another person. Nothing in life comes with a life-long assurance. But that’s just my personal experience. People are the hardest to love–we’re very unpredictable. That’s what I enjoy so much about being a human. You never know what we’re going to do next.

That being said, the wedding was a riot. Had to have cost an ample fortune. The beer was great. The damn bartender refused to give me a double. Also, I forgot to bring a bra so I had to borrow one from my stepmother (and I can assure you, nothing makes you reconsider all of your life-choices like borrowing a bra from an older relative. The granny-bra is a real thing… do they not know about the great strides we have made in hosiery?). I am a whole new shade of shit-show. (And writing for children, too! What a sham.)

Anyway, I don’t have much to update. I drank enough Johnny Walker at the wedding to think myself some strange combination of Ginger Rogers (I owned that dance floor) and Hemingway. Tried to do a bit of inebriated editing while watching ice skating at 2 am last night… It didn’t go too well, but I don’t think I made it too far before I could do any real damage. Thank god, the whisky didn’t make me that ambitious. I swear no one should edit in that state.

I’m planning a massive read of chapters 5-8 and an angry letter to the Creative Factory about still not having read 1-4. You know it’s bad when even your best friend can’t make it through 4 chapters of your writing… I’m desperate for criticism. Like even something scathing would be great. Anything. I’d kill for someone to just read it. Right now, there’s no one (at least not anyone with the time and/or relationship hanging in the balance). I’m like a day away from sending this stuff to my mom, that’s how desperate I am. I’m going crazy because no one is telling me anything.

The worst news is no news. Someone please help me!

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4 thoughts on “Day Twenty-Five: A Dance With Johnny Walker

  1. I know how you feel about wanting someone to read your writing. I mean I don’t have anything professional, but I like people to give me feedback on my short stories and random scenes.

    I’m glad the wedding was fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

  2. I’m not sure how relatable “Someone use my app!” can be to “Someone read my book!”, but the way you described it certainly gives me flashbacks from the eight or so apps I’ve built.

    Here’s some thoughts. Emphasis on ‘thoughts’. I can’t really know your situation better than you.

    1.If I couldn’t get someone to use my whole app, I would ask them to do a small subset of tasks on it. I broke it down and this was often much easier to consume (and to get more valuable feedback).

    Maybe this can work with a book, too. Maybe you could like posts standalone paragraphs of your book on feedback forums around the web. Or pull someone aside and ask them how they feel about a specific piece. Phrase questions in a way that don’t provoke bias (avoid Yes-No questions).

    2. Do little favors for people. I would often get people to use my app by doing something (buying them a coffee, hell, even give them a genuine compliment) then ask them to download and use my app a short while after. It’s a dumb psychological trick. But it works.

    3. Lack of interest is a form of feedback in itself. Your best friend couldn’t make it through 4 chapters? Great, you know there’s something wrong in the first 4 chapters. Try to see how far other people have made it. Seriously, ask them exactly at what point they made it to.

    Some won’t even take the time to start? Maybe your title or working title isn’t interesting enough. Maybe you didn’t use a font that was easy to read, or present it in a way that felt easy to get into. The worst scenario is that you change the title and font and it still has no effect. But now you know 2 others things that don’t work, so good job.

    That’s all I can think of right now. Maybe this helps? Getting feedback is an art in itself. It’s scary as fuck, but it made me much better much faster once I got okay at getting it.

    • Great advice, Rob. I won’t put any out on the internet because agents don’t like to look at stuff that’s online and it’s a weird gray area for publication, but you’re right. I do take not reading it as a criticism in and of itself… I think that’s why I was getting so frantic.

      I think first and foremost I need to consider the audience for my writing… I’m asking really busy people to edit for me. And I think a lot of this might be solved with my later predicament… it’s really long-winded. Asking someone to read it is no small feat. It’s a lot of time for them (and if it’s not very interesting, tedious time at that). Maybe I need to hold on to the bulk of it until I’ve got my length issues down and the action pared down to the basic motion of the plot.

      Maybe my best editor at this point in my work is myself!

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