Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quit watching me!

As I sit here, I can't help but feel the gaze of unreal green eyes. Why unreal? They're cybernetic implants. They can see in the dark, but they don't glow. I'm never sure when they are watching or who happens to be playing with them. Which, you can probably imagine, is a little unsettling for me as I often write in the dark -- less distractions that way.

When is too much tech bad for a story?

- When the word count gets crazy high.

- When your MC starts to sound too much like a superhero, and she's not.

- When the tech creates plot holes the size of Idaho.

- When your realize it's nothing more than ornamental because that scene you intended to use it for never came into being.

What to do about it? Whip out the editing knife.

Ms. MC narrows her freakish green eyes. The iris is solid green, no pupil. They give me the creeps. They kind of creep out Mr. MC too, which is another issue, because he's supposed to be somewhat attracted to her.
"Just what do you think you're going to do with that knife?"

"Hold still, this will only hurt for a couple minutes until I find/replace all mention of your artificial eyes."

She hops up on my keyboard and stomps on the space bar. "You're going to do what?"

"Get off there!" Empty pages fly by as the curser speeds down the screen. "Look what you're doing to the document!"

"I happen to like my eyes." She lays off the space bar and crosses her arms over her chest "You can't just delete them, there's an entire chapter of backstory that shows how and why I got them."

"I know. That's the whole idea. Have you seen the word count lately?"

Ms. MC snorts. "Why would I care? You knocked my pov to the backseat, remember?"

"Exactly, and that's why you don't need as much page time." I grasp the knife and go for her eyes. Two minutes and a lot of struggling later, we're done.

She shakes her head and blinks, holding her hands in front of her face and peering at them. "Huh, they don't look any different."

"Notice anything else?" I point at the new short scene that took the pace of the entire chapter of backstory.

"I don't have to lose my original eyes in a horribly graphic and painful scene that made our readers say 'euw'?"

I put my knife down. "Nope."

She peers over the edge of the desk at the characters below and waves to Nekar. I suppose it makes sense that they'd be getting along better now that the eye gouging scene is gone. I smile to myself.

Nekar looks up from his adverb crate and gives her a tenative wave back.

Ms. MC stops waving and flips him off.

He spins around, pulls two words from the stack and whips them at her.

Hatefully and Vulgarly make it as far as my chair.

So much for getting along.


  1. This is funny! I had a similar problems with a character whohad silver eyes, even the pupils. But I wasn't brave enough to take the MC's eyes out. Good job!

  2. Hah! Love it!

    Reading this I realised that my MC has exactly the opposite problem. She has hi-tech subcutaneous bio-implants which allows her to change her appearance. This is key to the story, but there is a whole load of juicy backstory around the painful (and rather icky) implantation process (basically a controlled fungal infection) that has no place in the novel.

    So it just sits and festers as unresolved angst in dark recesses of her psyche.

    Hmm...that would explain a lot...

  3. BTW - did you manage to get an entry into today's MSFV contest?

    I was seriously miffed to see a juicy competition had appeared and closed before I even got to see the announcement. I have scads of dialogue in my work so I'd have loved to submit something, but I don't get a chance to review blogs etc. until the evening.

    Ah well, it'll be interesting to see what other people have posted.

  4. Hehe This was great! I remember my first attempt at a novel, which still remains unfinished. I had to attack one of my characters with the editing knife and totally change his personality. I cried and he wailed, but, in the end, it was for the greater good. *wipes tear from eye and whispers "Sorry, Ed."* :D

  5. @Laura - Silver eyes, oh my. That sound even creepier than the green ones.

    @Botanist - I have plenty of backstory sitting around if you never need any. ;)

    I did manage to get into the MSFV contest, though I didn't see it until around noon. Thankfully those don't fill as fast as the SA contests do. I have a new WIP that's been begging to be let out into the world. This was our compromise. My entry ended up toward the middle again.

    @Zella - Poor Ed!

  6. That backstory still remains as one of the most visceral reactions I've had to a little bit o' writing. It's probably safer this way.


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