• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Can See Clearly Now the Rain Is Gone

“He’s got a great nose for story, but he wouldn’t know a telling detail if it bit him in the ass.”  I heard a seasoned editor say that about a journalist over thirty years ago.  I never forgot it. I was just beginning to learn what telling details were, but what I wanted to know was whether the writer knew this about himself.  Or did he have a blind spot. Maybe he was more forest than trees. How do you know what your bad at?

What’s your blind spot?

10 Responses

  1. I know what I’m bad at because a really good editor told me about 50 times during the edit of one novel. I sometimes have pages of dialogue without a single concrete action or description of ANYTHING. Talking heads in a dark space, no sights sounds or smells, just talking and thinking and talking. Hi Suzy, you’re the best!

    I’m also bad at writing for writers. To be “helpful” writers often point out in one-star reviews what a bad writer I am, and cite things they “learned” from some How-To-Write book or other. But fuck ’em. I write for readers, not “rule” followers. So I don’t count this one, it’s not a blind spot at all.

    (Oh, nearly forgot — blind spot I guess.) I’m also guilty of prattling on for too long. Also blathering. (Blattlering?) As I do here sometimes when commenting, bla bla bla, have you SEEN how long my comments get here, bla bla bla — lucky for me editors have red pens and delete buttons. Bla bla. Bla. Without good editors I’d be you-know-whatted.

  2. This here’s a really good question. Can I have more than one? Cause I think I have more than one. It like the blind leading the blind leading the blind…

    Mr. ipants there sort of pointed mine out – except it’s the opposite of what he states is his problem. I tend to break into the dialogue by letting the character wax and wane a little with some feedback. Antagonist, or other character says something and before my MC replies, she’s decides to tell us what she’s thinking and feeling. Or smelling. Or seeing. Or knowing.

    You have to have this sometimes, but I’ve learned – or am trying to learn is this necessary? Will this stop the action? Is this like a commercial break x 50 by now? I mean, just get ON with it already!

    Ya know?

  3. Too much Tell without relating it back to a scene…but I am learning.

  4. Everyone says I’d make a horrible journalist. I’d just make stuff up. I guess I’d be the queen of fake news.

  5. First writing, lots of blind spots. Second, fewer, and so on. The more I look, the more I see, the more I listen……the coolest frustration is that you’ll likely never see or hear it all, or get it Right. There may be no perfection, but looking for it, working, sweating for it is one hell of a party. I just don’t want to be the obnoxious drunk.

  6. Sentimentality and preaching. It’s hard for me to remove myself from what I’m feeling and step back to view things objectively (Ha!) — which has its good and bad points — and when I’m pissed about something it’s hard to refrain from spouting off about it. But I try.
    And sometimes I try too hard instead of letting it flow, allowing the story to tell itself.

  7. Then everything went black. Thanks, Betsy.

  8. “What’s your blind spot?”

    Not sure. Can’t see it.

    In some contexts, trying to be clever and flip.

    In other contexts, trying to help.

    As a writer, I get in my own way. “What’s that big, blurry thing right in front of me? Seems pretty damn close. Can’t see around it. Hope I’m not about to go over a cliff or something.”

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