Let’s talk about crap.


I have to wonder why I’ve been thinking about crap so much.  I mean it’s not really that interesting of a subject. Unless you’re an 8 year old boy. Wait. Cross that out. Unless you’re any boy under 95 years old.

If you’re interested in my previous thoughts on crap, read this post. You won’t find the actual word – crap. But it’s there all the same, lurking in the shadows. And then, it decided to show itself in this next post. Or if your computer is running slow and you don’t feel like clicking, you can scroll down to the two previous posts on my blog.

It could be because I’m knee deep in the stuff – as in writing a first draft. Or it could be that writers all over the blogosphere are proclaiming the right to write CRAP on the first draft. Because if you don’t allow yourself to write crap, then a strange phenomenon occurs. Rules invade your head and your writing gets constipated.

Show don’t tell. Cut, cut, cut. Not too much description. Only snappy dialogue – no fluff. No starting a scene with waking up. No mirrors allowed. Watch out for too many -ing phrases. Don’t forget sensory details.

You get the point.

A writer can feel so caught up in getting it perfect that not even good crap gets written. (And yes, there are levels to crappy writing.) Because there is this whole left brain-right brain (editor – creative writer) thing.

So, I’m jumping on board with the slew of writers out there knee deep in crap. And I’m loving it.

** And another thing – how come it’s so much easier to recognize crap in someone’s else’s writing, but now always your own? What’s up with that? So, to come in the near future – Tell tale signs of crap.


12 Responses to Let’s talk about crap.

  1. anne gallagher May 3, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I’m in the middle of my own crap right now.

    ” Because if you don’t allow yourself to write crap, then a strange phenomenon occurs. Rules invade your head and your writing gets constipated.”

    I LOVE this! This is not crap, this is brilliant. Thanks for the post.

  2. Andrea Vlahakis May 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    It’s so important to write a crappy first draft,. You’d think writing crap would be easy, but it’s oddly difficult to do. All those rules are soooo insistent. 😉

  3. Laura May 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Anne – But it’s important to love that crappy first draft anyway!

    Andrea – And that’s the problem. All those rules.

  4. Laurel May 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m neck deep in revisions, trying to “clear out the crap” you might say! So I’ll address the second question.

    We don’t see problems in our own work because our brains fill in what isn’t on the page. The characters are full fledged and their motivations clear in our heads! Revision requires distance–extracting what you “know” from your brain and trying to actually see what’s in the pages in front of you. It’s hard!

    Wishing you the best with drafting!!

  5. Patti Nielson May 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    I totally believe in this philosophy. Although, I’m hoping with my next draft I write a lot less crap.

  6. Laura May 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Laurel – That’s a great way to describe the answer to my second questions. If it weren’t that way, we’d all be published!

    Patti – Me too. I keep trying to have less crappy writing in my first draft, but inevitably, it’s there. 🙂

  7. Creepy Query Girl May 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I admit, there are so many rules to writing and I love it when I pick up a book tha breaks them all and I’m like ‘wtf?’- Basically I write what I write. I clean it up best I can and my critics group helps but there are certain things (like the story itself) that, to me, are untouchable. Whenever anyone says ‘well maybe you should have this happen…’ I say ‘But it doesn’t! THIS is the story.’ Weird? Maybe. But I can’t help feeling like the storylines come from someplace or someone else than me and I don’t the right to change them.

  8. Jennifer Shirk May 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Oh, my gosh, talk about crap…my crit partner just pointed out a bunch ot “telling” sentences and uneeded backstory. Why didn’t I see that??

  9. Laura May 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    CQG – It’s important not to let critiques sway you from your original vision for the story, if the suggestions don’t sit well with you. 🙂

    Jennifer – Ah, the lovely backstory. Thank God for crit partners.

  10. Karin May 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Wishing you a day of crappy-ness!!! I’m right here with ya! 🙂

  11. Laura Marcella May 4, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    You’re so right that it’s easy to get caught up in trying to make our writing perfect the first time around. Crap is crap and will remain crap until we tell ourselves it’s okay to write crap. Once I let myself dive into the crap pile, I always get myself out! 🙂

  12. Karen Lange May 4, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    Oh my, Have faced this even with nonfiction stuff, too. Just didn’t articulate the challenges as nicely as you did. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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