Saturday, October 16, 2010

The VOICE and the Laundromat

We’ve all heard it. The VOICE.

As authors, we’re writing our way through a big dramatic climax somewhere around chapter 21, and there’s this voice calling from a short little scene back in chapter four, saying “You’re going to have to fix this . . .”

And sometimes it's the dumbest thing!

Maybe Aurelia forgot to pack her bag correctly on the trip.

Or someone stole Robert’s sword, and I forgot to give it back to him. (Yes, I did this. Robert was fine with it, but apparently the VOICE was not).

Or someone has to cry in such and such scene, even though your editor doesn’t think so.

Or some bird was friggin’ the wrong color.

Or I failed to take Salva to the Laundromat.

Yes, this was the noisy complaint all the way through my second draft of Salvation.

How could I have failed to take him to the Laundromat?

Turned out Salva didn’t want to go. (I know you’re in shock—but really, what 17-year-old boy wants to spend his Tuesday evening doing homework at the Laundromat?).

But apparently this was necessary.

The VOICE must be heeded.

The “Laundromat scene” is really dinky—maybe three pages. I tried to write it in the Laundromat earlier, and it just wasn’t working (turns out this was due to a misinterpretation of the role of a certain friendship bracelet), so I gave up and let Salva study at home. In his kitchen.

Seemed to go fine when I wrote it.

But oh no, the VOICE didn’t think so.

Continued to pester me. For—count them—152 more pages. And through the whole moral dilemma of whether it would be better to turn this in early or go through a full third draft. “You need to take Salva to the Laundromat,” said the Voice.

“It’s not important,” I said.

“Yes, it is,” said the Voice.

“My editor will never know the difference,” I said.

You will,” said the Voice.


So here I am. Literally about ten writing days left before my ultimate deadline. Fixing the Laundromat scene.

Which by the way, I like better now. For NO DISCERNABLE REASON.

Except the VOICE is happy.


  1. LOL! Oh lord, the demands we writers put up with! Sometimes I wish that creepy, know-it-all voice (who sometimes sounds remarkably like Hermione Granger) would just drop off a cliff from time to time--it would be a very humbling experience, yes?

    Sounds like you're still doing well though. :) I can't wait to read this book! My goodness. I will be the FIRST in line for ARC's. Heaven help anyone who tries to cut in front of me. XD

  2. What's even worse is that sometimes, the VOICE just doesn't shut up and won't let you sleep!

  3. Oi! I know exactly the voice you're talking about. Except mine bugs me constantly, about every scene, about every word. "This isn't quite right" and I ask "What SHOULD I say, then?" But my voice isn't helpful like that, only tells me what's wrong, not what's right. So, sigh, I rewrite entire scenes dozens of times over trying to fix every little thing.
    Maybe it's because I've never sent any of my characters to the laundromat. :)