Apr 19, 2010

My Orange Pen of Despair

Once again I've fallen into the realms of a major edit. And once again I refuse to use a red pen.

This time I've taken refuge in a tangy little orange pen. (Ok well it's not really little ... and it doesn't actually taste like an orange ...) I will do just about anything to avoid that bloody ink upon my pages.

Unfortunately, my little citric friend is still doing it's job. It's crossing out sentences here and adding scenes there. It's like he's (yes my pen is a he ... anything that nags at a woman should be considered a he ... just sayin) laughing at me and saying, "Ha ha ha you foolish twit. How could you have missed that adverb the first twelve times around? And seriously, haven't you learned anything about show vs. tell!"

Yeah I don't really like him either. Maybe I should return to my pretty pink pen who talked to me with love. She wouldn't laugh at me, she'd gently break the news in a pleasant matter. She'd say, "Oh honey, you can't use that many adjectives to describe his eye brows. Saying fluffy uni-brow gives us a clear enough picture.

Isn't she sweet?

But what do I do? Do I dig her out of my gnome box?

Not a chance.

Why you ask?

Because I'm at that point in my edits where I need a little tough love. I need to hear it like it is.

I think everyone has that point in the revision stage where we finally break down and accept the dirty truth. The truth that there is more we can do to make our manuscripts shine.

So break out your Honest Orange pens my friends. Let them get rude. Let them hurt your feelings. Let them force you to make your manuscript better than you ever dreamed it could be!

(Why yes, I have lost my mind. Why do you ask?)


steph said...

Oh MB, don't let the little orange guy be too rude. Honesty is super, but when it's done with a smiley face at the end, it makes choosing which adjectives to leave when there are 5 in a 7 word sentance much less painful. You're doing great! Keep working hard :)

Mindy said...

your post made me laugh to loudly that the 2 year old i'm looking after called me strange lol....I'll have to find me an orange pen... i need that tough love with my manuscript

CMOM Productions said...

That orange pen is scary! I'm hiding from it right now! :)

Katie Ganshert said...

Ha! So true! The truth isn't always the easiest to hear, but it makes our manuscripts much better!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I think I need to find me an orange pen.

But I want one that tastes orange too. mmmm... oranges. Now I'm hungry.

Scott said...

Scott is glad Marybeth is finally admitting she lost her mind . . . something he knew had happened when she started talking in the third person! Ha!

I break out different colored pens for the edit phase, and have used red every now and then, just not very often.

And, your pen can be a 'he' because I consider Inspiration a she . . . because she's fickle, is never there when I need her, decides to wake me up at 3 AM, and so on and so on! Ha!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You're absolutely right. Sometimes tough love is just what the manuscript doctor ordered! :-)

Jessica M. said...

This is funny. I'm currently grading papers in orange. How appropriate! LOL

Krista Phillips said...

I actually like red pens.... but orange DOES sound amazing!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I've never used a red pen to edit. I don't have anything against the red really, I just love the cool, calming stroke of a nice blue pen.

Hang in there with the edits. Sounds like you are getting somewhere.

Lydia Kang said...

Hi Marybeth,
I'm in the middle of hellish revisions as well. I feel your pain!

Janna Qualman said...

I'm not to the pen-marking stage, yet, but I'm digging this idea! Once my current rewrites are finished and I have a print-out, I'll be set. :)

Simon C. Larter said...

I made the mistake recently of sending off some flash fiction without printing it out and editing by hand at all. Epic fail. I need me some tough-lovin' pens (or mechanical pencils... either way) to get my stuff as polished as it can be.

Plus, you lost your mind when you decided you wanted to be a writer. We all have. It's a happy, insane club. Whee!

Glynis said...

I have just gone under Emily Bryan's Red Pencil Thursday. It is due for sharing on 29th on her blog.
When she sent it back to me, I knew I was in for some heavy editing. *sigh*.
She was really great, and show vs tell came up for me. *another sigh*

Orange pen is a good idea!
Happy editing.