Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Bad Writing Habits Follow Me Wherever I Go

I’ve been working on removing an excess of interiority from my novel.  Scenes which otherwise might clip along are bogged down by my protagonist, the beloved Emma Jean, thinking too damn much. 

We’ve been talking about this bad habit of mine in my weekly writing group, but I hadn’t internalized it until I started reading Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson.

Today, on the treadmill again (though why I bothered since I ate pizza for dinner, I’m not sure), as I was reading and pondering Emma Jean, it hit me. 

What I need to do is to get Emma Jean out of her own head and into observing others.  Clearly, she does this already–part of the fun of the novel is her irreverent opinions of people, and life, and events.  But she also needs to get away from her damn navel gazing, especially when we’re in the middle of a scene.

Then, double whammy, another thought hit me (I guess this is why I go to the gym): In my late, lamented unfinished last novel, Language of Trees, I wrote in first person.  And the reason I decided to write in third person this time, was that writing my Trees protagonist in first person made her too much of a whiny baby navel gazer. 

And I’m still battling the same damn problem. 

The good news is that at least I’m figuring it out.

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