Daily Archives: September 2, 2010

Bad Hair Day in Writing

The last time I got my hair cut, I was more specific than I’ve ever been. 

I don’t like how my long and short layers don’t blend.  It makes me look like a mushroom head.

I guess that means, cut the short shorter and leave the long, because now my layers are even more pronounced and I look like a mushroom head with a mullet.

My hair grows so fast, my bangs definitely need to be shorter.

The minute I walked out of the salon I had to pin them back because they were in my eyes. 

Please cut my hair so the back flips out, not under. 

Under makes me the spittin’ image of my mom and is extremely hard to flip out even with the stiffest hair spray and the hottest curling iron.  I aged ten years in ten minutes.

Bad hair is the lowest of the low.  It affects the time it takes to get ready in the morning.  It affects whether we will be crabby or happy when we walk out of the bathroom.  It taints everything we touch or do for the day.

Enter the bad edit.

The one where we start with a vivid picture in our minds of what needs to be done.  Fluff the character, trim the adverbs, smooth the plot holes, dry out unnecessary storylines, brush up the active verbs. 

When we are finished primping, we look in the mirror and…well…we took too much off the top, thinned out our plot, frizzed the characters to something unrecognizable and have a mushroom head with a mullet.  In essence, we have destroyed our manuscripts by being so focused and trying to do too much all at once.

Either that or we’re just crappy hairdressers editors.

I have a manuscript like that.  I took an idea and ran without it.  I regret it bitterly.  So much so that I haven’t even looked at it in two years. 

Have you ever given your manuscript a bad hair cut?  How do you rectify your mistakes?  Is it easier to start over or spend more time primping?