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Hello everyone! Welcome to The Clare and Chrissy Show – April Edition. Clare is busy avoiding all the tourists as London is in the throes of Royal Wedding Fever, and Chrissy is just trying to figure out what the weather will be from one day to the next here in the States.

Chrissy: Our meteorologist is starting to resemble a demented Mr. Myagi during his broadcast - Coats on! Coats Off! It’s enough to give a gal whiplash as one day we are greeted with a record setting eighty-four degrees, and the next we are scraping snow off the car windows.

Clare: And in anticipation of the summer to come we’ve been busy updating our reading wishlists. Facing multiple visits to the U.S. this year I have tough decisions as to which books to load onto my eReader to keep me amused as I zip through multiple time zones.

Chrissy: *rolls eyes*

Clare: What? I don't sound like a Glamorous Jetsetter???

Chrissy: *clears throat* Anyway, let's return to those difficult reading decisions! There has to be the right balance between reading for pleasure and simple enjoyment, tackling something with more weight to keep the neurons firing, and tucking in the old favorite for a good, comfort read.

Clare: Those are three future C&C topics right there LOL. But even when we're relaxing happily with our latest purchase, we're brought up sharply by another issue.

Chrissy: You dropped your eReader in the bath?

Clare: *Per-lease*. What I mean is the interesting question of "How Authors Read". After working hard to develop our own writing skill, is it possible for us to turn off our inner-editors and simply read for pleasure without...

Chrissy: Dare we say it ...

Clare: ... that little red pen in hand to circle any errors we might find?

Chrissy: I’m kind of a green or purple ink gal myself. Just saying.

Clare: That doesn't surprise me, Ms. Confetti Munder. Thanks for sharing. But, back to my question. What happens when you can’t turn that switch to "off"? A good inner-editor is invaluable for an author. We spend years grooming and cultivating this critical eye.

Chrissy: Then we spend our days in a hectic whirl of self-edits, edits from the peanut gallery, and edits from the publisher.

Clare: Sometimes I wake up terrified in the middle of the night; chest heaving, sweat rolling down the middle of my back, but not sure why, except that I remember a Giant Red Pen chasing me and my Adverb-itis down a deserted city street.

Chrissy: *cough* Hot Flash *cough*

Clare: Pffffffft.

Chrissy: Just look at the number of books and classes available online and at your favorite bookstore. It’s not enough that we write…

Clare: ... we have to know how to dissect our writing as well.

Chrissy: So does this mean that in addition to the statue of your Muse on your writing desk, you also have a physical representation of your Inner-Editor as well?

Clare: Not enough room, Chrissy. Not enough room. But, seriously, I do find it different nowadays, reading strictly for pleasure. I crack the first chapter, excited to dive into a new world and lose myself in the story, and then, when I least expect it, I sit back and say: "That shouldn’t be there".

Chrissy: Do you actually reach for your little red pen?

Clare: *squirms* Before my eReader? Sometimes.

Chrissy: Being a used book buyer it’s always interesting to pick up a copy of a work and find the reader before me has gone through and marked out items they had issue with. I always wondered if this was done as an exercise in critical reading, or could they simply not help themselves?

Clare: Sadly, as one who has always happily given in to most of her instinctive urges, I suspect the latter.

Chrissy: Skimming past Clare's TMI, why is it easier to spot a classic example of passive voice in every story but the one currently in progress on my computer? Is it the fresh eyes concept?

Clare: LOL. Probably. And those excess dialogue tags, she said.

Chrissy: Too much repetition. I said, too much rep -

Clare: Gotcha dear. And inconsistency of character, and effect before cause, and messy lists, and unnecessary exclamation points, and OMG the m/m minefield: perplexing pronouns. And did I mention the lists?

Chrissy: You did. I said, you d-

Clare: Anyway. And does anyone else ever put a book down at the end (or turn off the ereader) and cry "But whatever happened to the knife / letter / distant cousin in chapter 3 who went to school and never came back???" When my inner-editor wants to go beyond any nit-picky grammar or tense issues, and rewrite entire plot points?

Chrissy: *pets* The burdens you have to bear. To say nothing of the excess ???.

Clare: This is blogging. Different set of parameters entirely :P. Let's just make one thing clear - these are things I'm guilty of just as much. However much I learn about "how to" write, my Muse continues to strew examples of "How NOT to" whenever faced with a blank page. I've made all the mistakes, friends, and will probably continue to do so.

Chrissy: Hell yeah! If I could remember all the things I'm meant to consider in "good" writing from first draft onward ...

Clare: Your head would explode?!

Chrissy: I thought you weren't going to watch that movie? I just think it can paralyze the creative flow. It's important to give the Muse his head, and hope that we have enough common sense and skill to create a Good Read. Meanwhile, we battle on trying to absorb good style through osmosis, and treasure good editors.

Clare: So we're not pointing the finger or criticising anyone's writing, not by any means. We're just wondering how much we've been seduced ...

Chrissy: ... subverted ...

Clare: ... as *innocent* readers.

Chrissy: Will we ever get that innocence back?

Clare: Do we even want to?

Clare and Chrissy: So what about you? Authors, can you switch off your inner-editor and enjoy the story as is? Readers, do you struggle with some books, itching with the desire to scrawl through a whole page with a red line and comment "Exposition, exposition, exposition!" or more bluntly "Get the hell on with it!".

Here's your chance. Share your thoughts and be entered in a random drawing with one lucky winner receiving some of our sparkly Clare and Chrissy Swag! Winner to be announced at our next, monthly post.

Chrissy: Hey, your next trip over, can you bring us some Crown Jewels Condoms for our swag bags? Although, I’m quite disappointed at their disclaimer at not being real condoms – what’s the point then?

Clare: Be careful what you wish for, my dear ... *mwahaha*.

Note: - "zombiehand" pop art used above copyright samantha parker @ quirkyville

March Winner: carolecummings - Congratulations! Please email your address to Chrissy at chrissymunder@yahoo.com to receive your Swag.

And a special chicken soup HUG from Clare to Chrissy, because she really has been miserably ill recently, and has had to drag herself from her sick bed, just to chat with me today :).

Chrissy: Awwwhhhhh, thanks sweetie. The only advantage to this whole, long-distance thing - no risk of contamination.

Missed any of our posts? Follow the 'sticky' post for these rambles of ours HERE.

Here's Chrissy! website // blog.

Here's Clare! website // blog.


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Hahaha!! A very interesting topic you bring up, ladies. (Note my proper use of punctuation!) I have the worst time with this when reading for pleasure. Case in point, I'm reading Game of Thrones right now and it's taking me FOREVER because I keep wanting to edit his sentence structure. Heh. I've found that booze helps quiet the inner editor beastie. ;-)
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
Eeeek, Lord no! Don't start watching punctuation here! (All though, it did look very nice). Thanks for mental image of the tipsy reader hard at work ignoring the inner editor.

Edited to add: Goodness knows I'd have to watch quite a few more re-runs of Grammar Rock on You Tube before I'd be able to look at at posts with that critical of an eye.

Edited at 2011-04-20 06:20 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - muse_neko - Apr. 20th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clarelondon - Apr. 20th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
I've heard some authors *coughKZSnowcough* say they can't shut off the editor. As a reader it only makes me berserk when it's REALLY bad typo stuff. If you want to exercise their demons (what? Join a gym with Beelzebub?) or I was reading something where Trevor turned into Devin for a paragraph then back into Trevor. Shapeshifter alert! Continuity things will make me crazy, red t-shirt into the room, blue sweater out. WTF? When did he change his clothes? Left work on Monday, and had the weekend the next day. No no no.

However grammar stuff, should there be a comma, was it a subordinate clause (whatever the hell that is), did it need a colon instead of a semi-colon, whatever. Don't care as long as it's not one 5 page run-on sentence. I do wonder when characters show up and disappear or you had a dog but went away on vacation for a month with no indication of a kennel or dog-sitter, but I guess I take those as continuity type things. Most of the time I can just let the little things go though.
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Hi Tam, It appears I'm rather like you - more focused on the big picture of the story and able to skim over things that might trouble others.

I've even had a bad document conversion from Word to .prc for my eReader where all the apostrophes turned into question marks and it bothered me not at all.

This is fine when I am reading for pleasure, not so good for anything else.
(no subject) - clarelondon - Apr. 20th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
And inconsistency of character, and effect before cause, and messy lists, and unnecessary exclamation points, and OMG the m/m minefield: perplexing pronouns. And did I mention the lists?

Don't forget the horribly stiff dialogue where the characters tell each other things they both already know in a transparent ploy to give readers some backstory! That one really bugs me.

I have to admit, I did encounter an action attributed to the wrong character (he wasn't even present in that scene!) in a book the other day, and it was from an author I loved and a publisher with an excellent rep for editing. It threw me for a few minutes, but then I just got on with reading and forgot all about it.

I've noticed that my internal editor goes into overdrive when I'm immersed in editing my own writing. I have to be really careful what I read for relaxation then - only certain trusted authors and publishers - or I will end up giving up after a few pages because my hands are itching for that red pen!

I have this horrible feeling that this is it, now. The enjoyment I could have derived from an awful lot of books that are adequately (if not amazingly) written and edited, will be scuppered by my internal editor. Damn you! You're nowhere near as sexy as my muse either! Maybe I'll try the drowning it in booze trick...
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
A big shout out to muse_neko for that helpful trick, eh? LOL.

But you have to admit, without that internal editor you may not have had an excuse to use "scuppered" in your writing today. And that was a fine thing. :)
(no subject) - clarelondon - Apr. 20th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - josephine_myles - Apr. 21st, 2011 09:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Green Ink
is it possible for us to turn off our inner-editors and simply read for pleasure without...?

I use a green ink pen for editing, not that I edit on paper much anymore. I have a professor who manages to use hot pink when he edits in Word...very odd.

I can't turn the Inner Editor off anymore. Not when I write, not when I read. It's become very annoying, particularly when I try to write. It is handy when writing papers for school, but when I write for fun it just sucks the life out of the writing and all the fun.

I wish I knew how to turn it off, although I'd settle for just keeping it on a leash.
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Green Ink
Inner Editor - Bondage Edition! *Cackle* Does anyone else find the leash idea amusing? Hmmm, perhaps I should refrain from responding while overdosed on codeine?

That's the fearful part of this entire discussion - when the little bugger interferes with the joy and fun of writing.

From the sounds of things - you're going to need a bigger leash.
Re: Green Ink - bleedtoblue - Apr. 20th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Green Ink - clarelondon - Apr. 20th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
I also feel compelled to point out my extreme love for the Red Zombie Hand O'Doom image Clare found. *pets*
Apr. 20th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Isn't it magnificent??? Well deserving of the copyright notice. I tried to find a pic of a red pen chasing me down an alley - but I think this did it better!

Of course, the surfing for pictures is my favourite part of this monthly party :):).
Apr. 20th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
I find it depends on a)the mood I'm in and b)whether I'm at the editing stage of whatever I'm working on as to whether I want to go through something with a red pen or not when I'm reading.

In saying that it also depends on the story. If it sucks me in enough, it's fine as though as it's not something really jarring. The it's/its thing drives me crazy and throws me out of a story ASP. Continuity is another thing. Passive voice not so much..

I am a lot pickier and more inclined to notice than I used to be. Actually in thinking about it, the stuff that you mentioned in the post - yes those do stick out and want red penning. (PS is it bad that I wanted to red pen Jane Austen's run on sentences?)
Apr. 20th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
Gosh, another vote for the "worse while I'm writing". I really want to try this out and see if it affects me like that too.

Running on sentences? I did Joseph Conrad's Nostromo at school and I don't think I ever recovered :).

Passive voice is, I reckon, a British trait and I don't mind it at all. After all, "He was looking at me" is *not* the same as "He looked at me". But let's not be too pedantic LOL.

I find to/too very often *sigh*.
(no subject) - chrissymunder - Apr. 20th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 21st, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
Um, back when I read paper books, I might've been guilty of making editorial marks...
Apr. 21st, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
*points finger* AHA! Erh, I might have guessed. LOL.

Was it a difficult habit to break? Mentally, do you still get some weird itch when you see something in your current reading?
(no subject) - egret17 - Apr. 24th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clarelondon - Apr. 21st, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 21st, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
0_0 Holy crap, I won something. \o/

You know, I've been writing all my life, and I've always done the editing-in-my-head thing, so I can't say if one is the result of the other. I think there's reason to think that being a lifelong reader may have something to do with it, too, though. I think people who don't read a lot don't understand how the habit of reading can... hm, cultivate one's eye for writing and language. Dependent upon what one reads, of course. But in general, I think that a writer has to be pretty damned brilliant for someone who spends their life immersed in words not to notice when they've screwed up.

/2 cents (pence, bits--whatever)

Off to claim my prize. (Have I mentioned that holy crap, I've won something? Woot!)
Apr. 21st, 2011 10:43 am (UTC)
*checks confetti supply* Hello, winner. :) Have to agree that the habit of reading helps to develop a writer, and their inner editor. It's up to us what we do next. (carefully checks it's/its to avoid agitating the crowd).
(no subject) - clarelondon - Apr. 21st, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 21st, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
The mark of a good story is that it can make me forget all my editing quibbles.

On the other hand, I'm listening to Jamaica Inn at the moment, and getting cross with the number of times exactly the same phrase is used for character-specific actions. She worked her mouth. He whistled tunelessly. I'm very glad they haven't shared a scene yet, or I'd have been forced to kill both of them myself.

Edited at 2011-04-21 06:06 pm (UTC)
Apr. 21st, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Hi Stevie, Ouch - LOL, that's an interesting point re: audio books, and definitely a good reminder to cut down on re-used phrases.

Hmmm, do I want to know what she worked her mouth on?
(no subject) - stevie_carroll - Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chrissymunder - Apr. 22nd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )