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.)