Thursday, April 22, 2010

This Ain't Project Runway...But It Could Be

I love watching Project Runway, a reality show about clothing designers. The designers are assigned a project and by the end of each show models walk the runway in the designers' outfits.

The outfits are then judged by industry professionals, including Heidi Klum.

It never fails to amaze me how the designers react to their finished products. Probably about ninety percent of the designers think their clothes are amazing. Perfect. They're always pleased. They don't usually see the flaws.

In so many ways I'm reminded of writers with our novels.

Have you ever written a scene that felt perfect, only to have someone rip it apart? Can you see the flaws in your work? Do you ever worry about your ego getting in the way of your craft?

28 comments:

Katie S said...

Oh my goodness yes. I know this feeling well. Depending on how bad they shred my scene, I may go find a quiet place to sulk. If it's not too bad a shredding, I am ready to improve it.

It might be interesting to see a reality show based on writers, then again, it might just be a bunch of people glued to computer screens or sitting quietly scrawling in notebooks all day. LoL.

Terri Tiffany said...

Yes I have --well, they don't really rip it apart but usually I think it was okay and then when I really step back, they are usually right. But ouch it hurts.

Jessica Nelson said...

Katie, I've wondered how a reality show with writers would do too. It's hard because you can't show a writer's hard work the same way you can a designer.

Terri, yes, it does hurt.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

This reminds me of that crazy love sick feeling I get right after I've finished a novel. I'm blind to its faults. Then after a few weeks I go into shock as I begin to edit at how blind I'd allowed myself to be. ;)
~ Wendy

Sarah Forgrave said...

Ohhh, I love that show!!! Hooray for the finale tonight! Any predictions on the winner? I predict Seth Aaron. :-)

Georgiana said...

LOL, it's so much easier to spot the flaws in other people's manuscripts. BUT, I don't necessarily think it's because of ego. More likely it's because we know what we *think* we put on the page, but what was in our head doesn't always translate. And yes, I have done my share of sulking.

Jessica Nelson said...

Sarah, I really like Seth Aaron! I hope he wins, definitely.

Sulking...lol. Me too, Georgiana! Me too.

Wendy, I'd like to have that feeling. It usually comes and goes during the actual writing of the story, but by the end I begin to lose touch with it. LOL

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessie, I've received a lot of feedback from contest judges over the past four years, careful edits from my CP the last two, and a kind but truthful revision letter from my agent in February. Although my chest feels hollow when I first read the comments and my eyes may sting, I know those making them mean well.

What works for me is to set the feedback aside and allow some time to pass. When I return for a second look, I'm in a better place and am able to understand what they meant. I'm making progress. It used to take three days for reason to return, but most of the time now I'm able to see what was meant by the next day.

Erica Vetsch said...

Oh yeah, I've been blindsided by editorial/critique comments before. But when I take a deep breath, walk around my office muttering for awhile, and finally sit down and really delve into the edits, I can see the merit of the comments and smack myself on the head for my lack of objectivity. :)

Used to really enjoy Project Runway, but cable moved channels around and we no longer get Bravo...so no Top Chef either. :( Wah.

CMOM Productions said...

It's so much easier to see things objectively when you are on the outside looking in. :) I think we often have so much passion about what we love that it's hard to always see the flaws.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh yes. Oh yes. It hurts, but it's good. Helps me grow, so I can help more people.

I hope my ego doesn't get in the way; it's usually the opposite problem--I am hard on myself.

Great post!

Jessica Nelson said...

Very true CMOM.

Erica, I watch my Project Runway on the internet! Works great. :-)

Keli, I'm both looking forward to and dreading my first editorial letter. It helps when writers like you share how you handle it. :-) Thanks!

Jessica Nelson said...

Jeanette, I was thinking about that when I posted this, that most of the bloggers I know are probably overly hard on themselves as opposed to being prideful about their work.

Dara said...

LOL, yes! It's funny because whenever I write something I think is amazing, it tends not to be. The same thing goes for when I write something that I think is utterly dreadful, it's often much better than I give it credit for.

Danyelle said...

For me, I need time away from the story to be able to see where the flaws are lurking, and betas are worth their weight in platinum.

Karen Lange said...

I have been concerned about my ego - don't ever want to get the big head! I want to remain open to feedback, good or bad, and keep a good perspective.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes! Sometimes I see the story so clearly in my head that I don't realize that I've left out most of the detail in my writing.

Then, there are other days, when I feel like my "inner editor" is in the fore-front and I struggle to write anything because it all seems bad.

So, I don't know if its and ego vs. craft thing, or just a roller coaster mood thing that I have to be wary of getting in the way of my craft.

Janna Qualman said...

Jess, this post is so spot-on. Yes! I think we do get caught up, so much so that we forget the bigger picture. That's what critiquers and betas and agents and editors are for, I guess. :) We can't do it alone.

Angie Muresan said...

You are so right about that. I'm thinking, how can he think that's perfect, even my untrained eye can see the flaws.
A writer friend told me that when I finish my WIP I need to give it to a trusted friend or two to read it and make sure it works.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I usually know if a scene needs tweaking or not when I give it to someone to read. But I always hope I'm being too hard on myself. But it's never the case. LOL!!

patti said...

Sigh. No, I rarely see the flaws in my work. Thank goodness for crit partners, Ms. Agent, and the in-house toughies!!

Patti

Julie Dao said...

Jessica, I LOVE that show! And one lesson I've learned is that arrogant people get nowhere. There's always that one guy who's like, "I'm here to win and I'll definitely do it. I've got sooo much talent." Succeeding is 75% effort and 25% attitude. I think humility and a desire to improve are two crucial things that a writer needs.

Nancy said...

Ha Ha Ha, you made me laugh inside. I don't usually notice flaws in my favorite scenes. When my friend and critique partner read them, she would kindly point out mistakes, usually relating to point of view. However, when I read a scene after a long time, I often see the errors. So I'm not hopeless.

Deb Shucka said...

Usually can't see clearly without the distance of time, but then yes the flaws stand out like zits on a teenager's face.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I'm usually a basket case when it comes to contests, editor/agent meetings, etc. Yet, I want my writing to improve, so I eat chocolate and get to work.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Ewwe Deb! LOL Not just teens. I'm battling one of those right now. Grrr.

Susan, chocolate helps. :-)

Nancy, lol, as long as you're willing you won't be hopeless. It's great that you're starting to be able to look at the story objectively. I work at that too.

Jessica Nelson said...

Julie, I think you are SO right about humility and desire. What a great observation! And did you notice a certain someone in the show is lacking in humility? LOL It's kind of funny to watch. I have to wonder what he's thinking as the show airs and he sees/hears himself as others do. Hmmm.

Jessica Nelson said...

Patti, thank goodness! :-)

Jennifer, LOL!

Angie, absolutely do that. I'd recommend giving it to one or two fellow writers who read your genre, but then I'd also recommend a friend or two who doesn't write but reads your genre. :-)