Thursday, September 16, 2004

put some chili on it

Couple weeks ago, on Critters, I read a story by this chick named Joy Remy. I'm naming her here because you will probably see her name again, elsewhere. This babe can write.

Anyway, her lastest oeuvre to pass through Critters was a sort of cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood. Think of Little Red making her way through the Thunderdome, sans Mel Gibson, and you've got the idea. I thought it was a decent premise, but she'd left out too much exposition and it wasn't clear what she was getting at. I told her so. She thanked me.

Couple days ago I was still thinking about the story and wrote to ask her what she was doing with it. She said she'd sent it off to some zine and sent me the revised copy. It was much improved. Still not her best, in my opinion, but a big leap forward.

And I got to thinking. Two things.

First, Joy whipped that story out, hung it out for a temperature reading, sliced out the dry bits, rubbed in some spices, and slung it out to the lions, all in less than two weeks. That's impressive, to me, that sort of approach to a story as a commodity to be completed and marketed, with no whining about inspiration and perfection. I guess I still have some Mark Walters residue clogging up my works.

Second, and related, not long ago my husband told me, "You don't want to please people enough. You'd rather have the story perfect, and tell it your way, than entertain your readers."

He's right, there. I have an inability to compromise (consider the Quinn-is-a-killer-get-over-it beef), and I beat myself up too much. Scott says, "There's no reason you can't make it good, and fulfill your vision, you just need to throw in some tasty stuff to keep your audience amused. It's like the Sonic drive-in commercial: it may be a very important piece, but you won't make the sale unless you put some chili on it."

Should it bother me that that makes so much sense?

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