Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When We Btend

(HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Assuming you celebrate it.  And if you don't, umm, why not?  Pie!  And mashed potatoes! And PIE.  Also, please don't forget to check out the charity auction to benefit Bridget Zinn's fight with cancer--links in the next post down.)

(ALSO: I will be signing at the BYU Bookstore in Provo, Utah, from 12-2 PM on Friday!)

My six-year-old daughter doesn't get as many anecdotes on here because she is far better behaved than my four-year-old son.  Which I appreciate.  A lot.  It's just not quite as funny.

However, what she lacks in aggravating adorability she makes up for in creative adorability.  While visiting my family she has been making decorations for the house, mostly revolving around turkeys.  And she's a fabulous artist, too, taking after Hot Stuff in that respect (and many others, thankfully).  However, one of her pictures is my absolute favorite.

That's six-year-old phonetic spelling.  The very best kind.
For whatever reason that first turkey wasn't up to snuff, but she didn't want to throw out the whole paper because of one mess!  So she scratched and scribbled it out, put a big X through it, and then went ahead and wrote instructions for the viewer: Btend this iset here.  Or, translated, Pretend this isn't here.

(I will give you all a few minutes to melt at how FREAKING cute that is.)

Now I'm going to make a Big Writing Analogy.  Or Metaphor.  I can't remember which and I am too lazy to look it up.  (I'm on vacation, folks, one church group talk, one career luncheon and high school book fair, one hour-and-forty-five-minute assembly for 400 middle schoolers, and one signing on Black Friday notwithstanding.  [Yes, I know how to relax.])

Often in our writing we mess us.  And we KNOW that we've messed up.  But we don't want to throw out a perfectly good manuscript, or cut out the offending part.  So we cover it up and scribble it out and sometimes flat out beg the reader to btend that those parts we messed up just aren't there.

But we still know they're there, and no amount of btending is going to get rid of them.  Usually when I am ready to send my manuscript to my crit partners I know what's wrong with it.  Exactly what's wrong with it.  But I'm very desperately btending that it isn't there, and hoping that maybe my readers won't notice and that I won't have to take the scissors to it and really fix it.

They always notice.

And, sadly, I'm not nearly as adorable as my daughter and so out come the scissors and snip snip snip goes the mistake and eventually--and I do mean eventually--the picture I've drawn with words becomes what it's supposed to be.

As writers we should never ask our readers to btend while reading our books.  We should make it impossible for them not to.

(Okay, that's the end of my writing analogy/metaphor.  Now you can all go look at the picture again and giggle over how cute my baby girl is.)

36 comments:

Marsha Sigman said...

Ok, that is beyond adorable. Sadly, I didn't even need the translation because this is pretty much how my husband spells things.lol

The analogy is spot on too. I have to quit btending.

Tawna Fenske said...

That is adorable. I seriously hope you frame it!

Tawna

lbdiamond said...

So cute!

Luckily, I btend all the time! (But no one knows about it. *shifty eyes*)

Tracy said...

I totally got the btend part, but I'm so glad you explained what iset meant! Apparently, I'm a grade or two behind your daughter on the phonetical spelling.

Not only is she adorable and environmentally friendly, she also believes ALL turkeys deserve to celebrate the holiday. Even those who were born with only one leg. *Too cute*

Jill Hathaway said...

Awwwwwwwwwww! Love it!

Small Review said...

Aww, that is so cute!

Penelope said...

It really is adorable! That needs to be laminated and kept. :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

kjovus - my life with books said...

PS
Will BYU bookstore be selling signed copies of Parnormalcy next week? We will be out of town but wish we could attend.
kjovus(at)gmail(dot)com

Kiersten White said...

Kjovus, I'm sure they will--and they will probably have signed copies, too, because I'll sign whatever stock is leftover!

kjovus - my life with books said...

Thank you. We need to go get some reindeer candy corn so I will pick Paranormalcy up next week.

Your daughters picture is adorable. You could frame it and hang it up every Thanksgiving. :)

kjovus
kjovus(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenilyn Tolley said...

That is SO cute! I love phonetic spellings. Although my favorite 6 year old writing wasn't quite phonetic--nor was it my child. I was helping in my son's kindergarten class and one of the girls wrote a story. Except she used "Wii" every time she meant "we." It still makes me laugh.

Thanks for sharing!

Jeigh said...

I've been blog stalking you for a while but I've finally gotten the courage to leave a comment.

This was a really helpful post for me. I just sent out my first ever novel to crit writers for the first time, and everything in the feedback I've gotten so far is stuff I already needed to be fixed. I just hoped against hope that maybe no one else would notice that glaring hole. Dang. I will stop btending, though.

I love the picture! My seven-year-old daughter has gotten to the point where she likes to write me notes, and they have a lot of words like that. Also, she likes to ask me questions (like, "Do you love me?") and then I have to check yes or no, sign it, and give it back to her. Little kids are awesome!

Loren Chase said...

This is so adorable! And I am guilty of trying to make my crit partners 'btend.' It never works... And that turkey is pretty darn amazing for a six year old!

Whirlochre said...

So adorable, I colluded with the adorableness, and misread your announcement about the BYU Bookstore.

That said, I insist you SING.

Renee Collins said...

lol, CUTE! I love when kids are in the phonetic spelling stage. :) Cracks me up.

Sara Kankowski DeSabato said...

That is so cute! And the turkey is v. well drawn. I don't think I could draw a turkey that good!

Also, the first grade teacher in me would like to say that her spelling is awesome! We have a lot of kids who can't pick up three letter blends (like end) or remember how to spell trick words like here by the end of the year (which is fine) so I'm way impressed!

Naomi Ruth said...

That is a very cute picture :)

And I love that analogy/metaphor. Something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Thanks!

Alexa O said...

It's so, so hard for writers to cut and slash the bits that aren't quite right but are btendable. Especially when those bits have a few amazing lines, or a great image, or if it took days and days to get it right but the scene just doesn't help the story at all.

I used to have an art teacher who said, "Don't be precious about your work." What he meant was, basically, that you have to be willing to throw stuff away.

It's hard, but, like your actual, literal clutter that fills the house, getting used to tossing it is totally liberating in the end.

And, speaking as a freelance editor, I HAVE to say, if you can't figure out what to cut or how to do it: Hire an editor!

(Sorry for the plug...couldn't help myself!)

Adorable picture and great post. Happy Turkey Day!

Dayana Stockdale said...

So cute!!! I literally laughed out loud! And a great metaphor too...I know exactly what you mean. I know what's wrong with my WIP, but I just wish it wasn't there...Too bad we can't all btend!

H-Duck said...

As I recall you are also a pretty good artist.

Barbara said...

I seriously wish I could draw like that. Love the turkey's face. :)

Aubree said...

so that is extremely adorable. that kind of seems like something i would do now despite the fact i'm not six.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

That right there is why I teach first grade. :)

Stephanie Perkins said...

CUTE! CUTE CUTE CUTE!

Julia B said...

That is absouletly darling! Really good turkey drawing too - I couldn't do that well and I'm a fair bit older than 6!

It was really good to see you say that, because I just started with a new critique partner. I could see where they were trying to btend and I felt awkward about saying anything, kind of like a patron at a magic show who can see part of the magician's sleeve is letting off smoke. I mentioned everyhing in the end, and I'm glad I did if it helps her wield the scissors ^_^

Claire Dawn said...

Sounds like a transcript of someone with a cold, actually.

Too cute!

Kimberly Sabatini said...

LOVE it! Great post, great Mom and great writer! :o)

Michelle A. Kobayashi said...

Too cute to correct! My 3 year-old's favorite princess is Cindalella. I love little-kid-speak.

Is it a good sign when you know that a scene isn't going to contribute anything, so you skip it, ponder ways to write around it, procrastinate some more and then leave it as an unwritten chapter? lol Just need to throw some literary spackle over that gaping hole and voila! It is gone :)

pensees said...

So precious! I had to show it to my husband, it was so adorable. Definitely a keeper. :)

Cyndi

Nikelle said...

That's ridiculously cute!! But now I'm sad to know that I missed you! I was in California for the Thanksgiving Break, or I would have come to the signing! BYU is like 10 minutes away from my house. But on friday it was more like 10 hours away :( Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

rosalielario said...

Wow, who would have thought a cute little picture would contain such a great lesson. :-)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Aww, LOVE the turkey picture. She is very talented!

Great analogy, too. You're so right about us KNOWING when something isn't right with the first drafts. I'd really rather Btend it's okay, but I've learned that re-imagining can make the story so much better, even if it hurts at first. I'm learning to cut out my darlings. It is definitely hard, though.

Btend I'm a NYT bestselling writer. Oh wait, some of us don't have to pretend. *mutters jealously and goes back to failed Nano project*

Dara said...

That's a better turkey than I can draw at 26 :P So very cute!!

Lyla said...

That's about the cutest thing... ever.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh, I love this! Frame that picture. My 3-year-old son says "Btend", too. So cute; I think I'll cry when he grows out of it.

And this is a great analogy.

twimom101 said...

THAT.IS.GENIUS!!!
SMART CKICK!