Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Do It Right

My daughter has just started dancing hard shoe in her Irish step class. The shoes are slick, the heels are high, and the edges of the heels are sharp. The first few tries had Lily falling on her behind. After much scuffling, she got the hang of staying upright, but was confusing the kick motion in soft shoe with the kick in hard shoe. The hard shoe move swings the heel past the shin/knee to the opposite side of the leg and if you get too close, you might graze your shin. Lily was not the only little girl in the class with welts marked by black shoe polish. She even broke the skin in two places.

At the end of class I asked if it would be appropriate (within regulation) to file the edge of the heel to round it out. The teacher, looking confused at my question, asked me why I wanted to do such a thing. I showed her Lily's leg. Her answer -- No, I shouldn't file down the shoe or put tape over the edges; Lily should just do it correctly and she wouldn't get injured.

It was a profound, yet totally a common sense answer.  Don't accommodate doing it wrong, just do it right. Donna Means is right up there with Yoda.

I am currently reading a great story that was starts out with a prologue. That, in itself is not a problem -- the problem is that all the same info from the prologue trickled out (in very similar wording) within the first few chapters. It came across as redundant and took me out of the story.

I rarely meet a prologue that is necessary and/or not an info dump. I toyed with one myself in my first book, using a prologue to make up for the fact that I didn't get to the story quickly. You can use all sorts of bandages to cover up a badly written book but ultimately, you should just do it right. If you put all your energy into perfecting hooks, writing to trends, snappy titles, you're not concentrating on what really needs to be done -- honing your craft.

Just do it right.


Susan Kane said...

Very good post. I loved the seg-way from the shoes to the unnecessary prologue. Just do it right! We should make a t-shirt.

Kathleen said...

Ha ha! I love the Yoda image and quote. I can picture Donna's baffled look when you asked her that question. Funny.

I don't like prologues...nor do I like flashbacks...but they are sometimes necessary to the story. Sometimes you wouldn't even like a character if you didn't know about their terrible past. I prefer for the information to come out through conversation....I am a dialogue lover! I can see how that would be harder for a writer. Keep up the hard work!

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