Don’t you just love it when people avoid mentioning the obvious, so as not to offend someone? The elephant in the room is stomping around and they are whispering about a mosquito that keeps buzzing around their head.
It’s time we all stood up and said, “THERE IS AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!”
We may not be the most popular person at the moment, but we are to be genuine if anything at all. Do we run around shouting, “Look at that elephant?” No. We just realize that friends don’t let friends keep their pet elephants.
Does someone you know have a pet elephant in their writing? Inevitably, yes. That elephant detracts from the writing talent and it is time to tame the elephant.
The elephant can be anything from an unteachable spirit to multiple point of view shifts in a scene. It is something that detracts from their talent.
5 Tips To Help Someone Tame The Elephant In Their Writing:
*Relationship Determines Tone. If you are not close to an individual and they are merely in your larger critique group, tread gently if at all. Writers are a sensitive lot, we throw our hard work out their to be sliced and diced, but it still hurts. Be gentle.
*Only Elephant Trainers Should Tackle the Job. To be an elephant trainer, you should have some solid expertise in the area. You can’t run around telling people everything that is wrong with their manuscript if you aren’t trained in the writing craft.
*Focus Only On One Elephant At A Time. Sometimes newer writers have a whole herd of elephants. You can’t get rid of them all at once. Pick the one that is the greatest detriment to their success first. Wait until that elephant is tamed before starting in on something new.
*If You Want To Be An Elephant Tamer, Plan To Mentor. You can’t tell someone something is broken with their novel and then walk away. That would be the same as if a doctor diagnosed the patient with a broken arm, but didn’t provide any treatment. Elephant tamers need to share resources and mentor.
*Encourage. Encourage. Encourage. Encourage. Remember how difficult it is to hear that something is wrong with your writing. It is essential to encourage and recognize all of the strengths before and after addressing the elephant.
What tips do you have for helping someone tame the elephant, or taming the elephant in your own work?