Thursday, April 23, 2015

The CRITICIZER: Friend or Foe?

I believe this is day seven, and I just wanted to report in on how it is going and encourage anyone who is doing this with me.

I have reached 6,390 words, all on my iPad with its handy-dandy Zagg keyboard. Have I felt like doing this? Do I ever feel like doing anything? Today, if you asked me, I'd say I rarely feel like doing anything, and I only manage by stint of taking unusually tiny bites out of everything, except food.

They way I am making sure to keep up with this is by making my 250 or 500 words be my dessert after editing other people's work. I write whatever the hell I please, and I try not to think about it too much. The self-doubt and self-criticism are likely to squeeze the breath out of me if I let it. I have sent the CRITICIZER on vacation. I don't know where she went, and I don't care, but I hope she is having a terrible time because that's what she deserves. I hope that every time she goes into a restaurant, the food is bad. I hope that if she goes into the ocean, she gets bit by a man-of-war. If she goes hiking in the desert, I hope there are plenty of poisonous snakes. Maybe she won't come back. Oh right. I need her to come back to help me write the second draft. But in the meantime, I hope her trip takes her down a peg, and she returns with a right-sized idea of her own importance.

So, the question today is: what would you like to do to your CRITICIZER?  No fate is too terrible but remember, eventually you'll need the bitch or bastard to help you on the next draft.


  1. I'm gonna rip out her voice box and send 'er down the river. --said in my best Godfather accent

  2. I've been putting down 250-500 words a day and watching it grow. I don't always add the new words to the place where I left off on the previous day. I start by making a note of my total word count. Then I go back and review some part of the document that could use more material. Sometimes I revisit early scenes in order to foreshadow new things I've decided to add later in the story. Even on a day when I don't move the story forward at all, I end up a few hundred words ahead of where I started.

    What would I like to do to my criticizer? I'd like to enforce our boundaries. I'd say to it: If you just let me put down a lot of raw material for the next few days or weeks, I'll let you go through it with a fine tooth comb later. But if you don't let me put the raw materials on the page now, you won't have anything to work with later and that's your bread and butter, so you'll go hungry.

    1. Thanks Frank. I love the idea that your words don't always get written at the end of your current piece. It's like your building it out from within. Very cool!

  3. If she tries to come back, I'm going to beat her around the head and kick her butt to the curb.

  4. "I don't know who you're talking about, Detective Stewart. I never met the CRITICIZER. Hell, I don't even know what you're talking about!"
    "Really, Ken? You never even met the CRITICIZER? Then why do I see crumpled paper in the trash can? And an unfinished manuscript on your desktop?"
    "Oh, those things. They're nothing. Just some thoughts I'm gathering together."
    "Well, from where I stand, they could be proof of the CRITICIZER'S whereabouts."
    "I swear I haven't seen anyone by that name around here."
    Detective Stewart, sighed. He'd seen this crime scene before. "Do yourself a favor. If you see the CRITICIZER; give me a call."
    I didn't want to tell him that I had shot and dumped the CRITICIZER into the La Brea Tar Pits last night. And I was sort of being honest. I hadn't seen the fuck since then.

  5. Oh my God, Ken.
    This is so funny.
    We could screw the Criticizer in every genre:

    Sci-Fi: send the bastard off in a spaceship.

    Romance: I was in love with the Criticizer -- really, I was, but then when Pat Youontheback came along, I dumped that guy faster than a leaky pen.

    Literary: The Criticizer reminds me of a pimple on the back of my last boyfriend's ass.

    Soft S & M Porn: For a while I was into having the Criticizer whip me while I spouted lines from Elizabeth Bishop's poetry. TBut when we got onto Pablo Nerudo, things really started heating up. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and I grabbed my copy of Emily Dickenson's Collected Poems --

    I'm nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
    They'd advertise - you know!

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public like a frog
    To tell one's name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!

    I'll bog you, says the Criticizer. I'll bog you right and proper Wench.

    Memoir: "I was born a poor black child." Oh right -- that's Steve Martin. -- I BS Criticizer was born in lower Manhattan before it was the place it is today. My mother was an essay and my father was a short story. It was a mixed marriage.

  6. LMAFO! So funny Laurie! Yes. Let's!

    Pop that pimple and watch the CRITICIZER drain away!
    Wait, I can do better. "shutthefuckup!" He's back!

    I love the "I'm nobody...."

    Hey! Have I written my 250 words? Today?
    Although I don't see how I could make this into a book. Hmmmm.
    Luv u, Babe.