Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Writing and Telepathy

In Stephen King's ON WRITING, he has this great little bit about how writing is awesome because it's like time-traveling telepathy. I read his example, and I thought, yeah. He's nailed it, that's pretty much how it is. I'm thinking it now; you're reading it later. Cool.

Except, when I get my revisions from my editor, it hits me. You can only read my mind if I actually tell you what I'm thinking. And, depending on who you are, I might even have to spell out things that I don't bother thinking because they seem so patently OBVIOUS to me.

Telepathy: Fail.

I think, too, this is why a lot of authors think their editors are morons. We utterly fail to spell out critical details (which seem so CLEAR in our own minds,) and they write to say they didn't see it coming. And, my first response is: "What, are you some kind of idiot!? I clearly... oh, wait. I didn't actually SAY that anywhere in the text. I just knew it to be true, so I thought you would too. Um."

But, on the flipside (and to be fair to both sides of telepathy: fail), it can be irritating when you, the writer, feel like all the subtlety is being lost because you're writing in 2 x 4s for every ah-ha character moment, etc. because the editor doesn't share your brain cells. Especially when your writers' group had no problem with said issue(s), which only exaserbates the sensation that your editor is a complete dolt.

Alas, my editor is not a dolt, or a moron, or an idiot. I only feel like she is because, in reality, I'm the moron, and she only managed to quite astutely noticed all the missing bits in my thought process.


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