Monday, July 23, 2007

They Call Me Ali-Demon For a Reason

"I'll think about it."

My dearest Jenny has given me a hellish nickname. I don't think I quite deserve being called a demon, but I've gotten used to it. Friday night, Deb even mentioned how Jenny had thought of naming baby #2 after me because of all the grief he/she's giving her in utero. You know, I think I'd be fine with that. Though, I think a name like Ali-demon might cause trouble for the tot in school.

I suppose you're wondering where the name came from. Well, the short of it is that in a writing community there are important roles we adopt in order to support and encourage each other. You have people who are great at cheering you on (cheerleaders), who have a sharp eye for technical stuff (editors), who can immediately see where you went wrong and how you can fix it (fixers), and people who have excellent suggestions for exercises to try in order to get around a writing problem - like writing it in a different P.O.V. or such (coaches). There are more roles than I've listed, and most people don't just fulfill one.

The reason I'm called Ali-Demon isn't because of one of the fore-mentioned roles, but because I'm a nag. Currently, there are two people who bear the brunt of my demon nature. First off is Jenny, of course. She's one of my favorite writers (Or, as Whitakker would point out - a writer I favor), and if I make a habit of demanding new work from her, I usually get it. I love sending her e-mails asking how she's doing on the new story she's going to submit this month. I've been on Jenny's case for a long time now, a year? Two? I can't remember. Long enough for the nick name, anyhow. Speaking of which, I had better remind her that I'm still waiting on the rest of her novel manuscript...

The second person who I've turned my demonic eye on is John from work. I've been working on him to come and visit the CSFWG for literally a few months. He keeps wussing out on me, "I'm not ready to show it to other people," but I think I'm making headway. For one, after looking over my comments on his first three chapters, he says he doesn't think I'm evil. Granted, he may be lying, but since he never actually threw anything or cussed at me on Saturday, I'm going to believe him. For another, I've been emphasizing that he wouldn't have to submit anything from the novel if he didn't want to. That the important thing is meeting other writers and having some practice critiquing other people's work.

With the next writers group meeting this weekend, we once again come to the point where either he'll wuss out or cowboy up. Hrm... Does it sound like I'm being hard on him? No malice intended, I promise, but he's an ex-marine, he can take it. My other plan is to take him to the less-intimidating rogue writers group as a way of easing him into it.

If nothing else, I figure he'll eventually come along one of these times simply for the sake of shutting me up. It's not the most elegant strategy, but that's not what's important. What's important is that it tends to work. Thus, the nickname.

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