Friday, May 1, 2009

May! And extra eyes

We made it once again to May. Not that you thought we'd get stuck in April, but you never know...

Okay - painful family moment last night. We were going to play a game with our kids (Catch Phrase, because everyone can do it) but Kid 4 really, really wanted everyone to experience the DVD he'd gotten from Netflix. Since we don't actually know how to deny that kid anything, most of us gathered around the couch in the basement for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." (Interesting note: Kid 1 chose to barricade herself in her room with a book. She KNEW.)

Oh. How. Awful.

I stared at the timer on the VCR so many times that the force of my brainwaves almost made the clock run backward. Seriously? We're only 14 minutes into this? Still? I made it to 30 minutes (my goal) and then hopped on the elliptical for the next 30 (still in the room, but distracted by my own heart rate). The last bit I escaped upstairs for balancing the checkbook (see? that's how bad it was - I'd rather be doing math), coming back for the final minute or so of typical Star Wars ending: heroic shot of the winners, standing in front of some pretty background. Even Husband, a big childhood-Star-Wars guy, thinks he may have gotten dumber watching that show.

Mr. Lucas is the prime example of why you need a second pair of eyes on any project. I don't pretend to be any kind of Star Wars franchise pro, but I'll admit that the '80s movies were fine - and not just because I love Harrison (the early years). But the episodes I, II, III? Ouch. It's like watching a muppet movie without the clever dialog, and no fun music. Since Mr. Lucas owns all control over the franchise, he's filthy rich. Good for him. But it also means nobody else gets a say in the project (like, please, please don't really put that Jar-Jar guy in these films, or yes, we love Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson, but could we please give them some intelligent dialog so we can hear those gorgeous accents?).

When I write, I crave second eyes. Partly because some piece of my bizarre (I was going to say "perverse," but I don't want you to mistake that for "perverted") sense of humor might leak into the story and give some reader the wrong idea. Partly because I need to know where, specifically, readers are only reading words on a page - as opposed to reading my mind. Partly (I'm a big girl, I can admit this) because I like to hear people laugh when they read my stuff, and I like to hear them tell me it's good. But mostly because extra eyes can add weight to the judgement that this project is worthwhile. These characters are likeable. This plot is interesting, or important, or fun.

So, the point: Get someone to read everything. Lots of someones. Trust some feedback (but ignore your aunt who adores you and the sister who picks you apart too brutally) - especially the consensus parts (everyone hates my Jack the Ripper musical? Really? Everyone? Hmm. Maybe I should rethink that).

More eyes beat your eyes. Hey - I should market that.

Or not.

Just have people read your stuff, agreed?

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