Writing in Invisible Ink


I’m sure there are writers who get critique and simply nod their heads and go, oh yes, that’s exactly the issue, I’ll fix it now.

I am, quite sadly, not one of them.

Instead, I’m a ranter of note. I scream at the pages, I analyse the number of times the reader has used certain words to describe my book, I gnash my teeth, pull at my hair, and generally weep for humanity etc. That takes about half a day.

Then I grudgingly concede on certain points while muttering bitterly into my gin, until, finally, I accept that I’ll have to do even the changes I hate if I want to ever sell a book. Within a week I’m pretty much resigned to “oh, fuck it, I’ll do whatever you want, just point me at things and say kill.”

Until the next round of notes of course…

This time, however, something was bugging me. I kept getting the same feedback about a certain thing and I just couldn’t see wtf people were talking about. I spoke to The Boy (because he’s saying the same thing) and after we talked and I tried to explain why I disagreed so much,  I *finally* clicked as to why I was getting so upset by these “MC is passive” critiques.

Because he isn’t. In my head. 😛

And it amazes me that I can be so blind to the difference between what’s in my head and what I’ve actually put down on the page. But the sad reality is just because I know why a character is doing something, if I don’t tell the reader why, it’s not like they can mindread it out of my brain. The Boy asked, “Why is he being so secretive about his plans if we’re in first person and in his head?”

And I’m all, “He’s not secretive, it’s just not interesting sitting there describing all your plans to yourself, and oh my god how boring would that be to read and it would just be so dull and I don’t see why it’s so important to spell all this shit out and oh shit it’s all in my head and not in the book, isn’t it?” (<<<this is kinda exactly what I sound like in real life, rambly and disconnected and full of sweary things)

Anyway, lol me, and thank goodness for beta readers, eh? 😉

So yeah, raise a glass for the people who keep patiently bringing you to the puddle of piss that is your manuscript and whacking your nose until the message sinks in, for they are gold.



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6 Replies to “Writing in Invisible Ink”

  1. Oh, Cat, you’re funny 🙂

    An interesting point though. You’re so close to the character, how do you tell the difference between what’s in your head and what’s on the page (aside from just infodumping)?

    1. Well that’s it exactly – it all feels like info-dumping to me to put down the stuff I already know.

      Which is why I can’t stress the input of a good beta-reader enough. 🙂

  2. yay, so glad there was a breakthrough! and I’m exactly the same way with crits. especially the passive MC thing, which I’ve gotten plenty… and I think in fact passive MCs can be really gripping, *if* the reader knows why they aren’t acting. Hamlet is the classic example… but can you imagine Hamlet if he had no soliloquies?

    1. Ha, indeed. And now I need to work on getting those reasons across.

      Though there is the smallest chance that Shakespeare is better at writing soliloquies than I am… 😉

      1. psh, shakespeare’s a hack. you got this. 😉

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