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?

11 responses to “Bad Hair Day in Writing

  1. You ever wish you could “save” your current hair so if the cut didn’t work out you could go back to it?

    There is no HairPerfect program.

  2. Oh, yes, I’ve given my stories a bad hair cut! It’s probably easier to start over, but I do try primping first.

  3. I need to go back and work on Lane & Finn but I’ve just headed in a different direction completely. I know where you’re coming from though, for sure. I just let it sit and maybe someday, I’ll get back to them. ;o)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

    • Well, the thing I’ve learned about writing is that sometimes when you leave a project sit for a REALLY long time, it can actually look pretty good by the time you return to it.

  4. I had a well-intentioned friend who had a tendency to edit the flavor out of things. This was long ago before I knew when to listen to myself and I just followed her suggestions. I edited the life and beauty out of a short story and didn’t realize it until it was too late. All of my backups of the story had been changed to the new edits and I hadn’t kept a paper trail. That story is irrevocably mangled now and I just don’t have the heart to try and fix it. Between that incident and back up issues with my novel, I have learned to keep draft versions of stories and books, though. ;D File: First Draft of Story name, Second Draft blah blah blah. It’s tedious, but will save you some sadness in the long run.

    • Victoria,

      I’m like you were. I don’t always keep drafts except those I print out. I should, but then I’d be afraid of what my hard drive would look like.

      Pirate chapter book draft 4,708!

  5. I just got mine back from the hairdresser – hopefully I can style it like she suggested. 🙂

    • layinda, you had a great hair do to begin with! The good thing is that your hairdresser didn’t rec a lot of cutting, but rather some plumping. It’s easier to wash away product than to weave the strands back together once they’ve been carelessly snipped!


  6. I tend to take a little off the top, then a little more on the next pass, etc, etc. It usually takes me several edits to get things where I want them. I’m overly cautious that way.

    I’m like that when I cut hair for my family too. I really don’t want my husband to look like Hitler. (Kind of might have accidentally happened the first time I cut his hair and went all crazy with one pass will do!)

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