July 20th, 2011

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CLARE AND CHRISSY LOOK BACK IN ... BEMUSEMENT?




Clare and Chrissy visit their good friend, Hindsight.

Clare: Greetings all to the July post of The Clare and Chrissy Show. I’m just back from a short jaunt away, and while I’m happy to be home I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Chrissy: Or someone. Suffering withdrawal symptoms from your favourite holiday comfort i.e. your virtual pool boy and his tray of margaritas?

Clare: You know me too well *smirk*. I'm sure he's on his leisurely way over, despite the gloomy London weather, armed with his ever-present pitcher of frosty cold beverages ...

Chrissy: No rush, eh?

Clare: *taps fingers*. Haven't they arrived yet?

Chrissy: See what I mean? Back home with a bump. The margaritas are coming, trust me. First I wanted to share some news.

Clare: News that can’t wait until I have my fingers wrapped around a frozen margarita?

Chrissy: Well, it’s kind of that good news/bad news kind of thing. Which do you want to hear first?

Clare: I’m not sure I like the sound of this. Where’s a decent pool boy when you need him?

Chrissy: Clare…

Clare: Fine. go ahead with your good news while I examine the household budget and decide if there's enough extra to consider hiring the boy without bothering with a pool. The sons might have to share a room, but sacrifices must be made.

Chrissy: I'm quite pleased to announce that while it's squeaking in just under the half a year mark, I’ve finished the dreaded closet sorting projects.

Clare: Ooooh, that is good news. One we should be celebrating with a frosty cold beverage. So, having proven your housekeeping mettle, what could be so bad?

Chrissy: As part of the household re-org, we decided to move a few things around and get a new chair for the living room.

Clare: That sounds lovely! Some tasteful antique? All gleaming wood and horsehair upholstery?

Chrissy: More one of those huge command centers that recline and vibrate, and make it impossible to climb out of. Or so I hear. I've yet to have a chance to try it out.

Clare: The point, Chrissy. The point?

Chrissy: To make room, something had to go.

Clare: Nooooo!

Chrissy: Yep, I’m afraid we had to eliminate the Clare Couch.

Clare: Not my couch!! I loved that couch. I spent hours reclined on that couch. We came up with the idea for this blog while I was on that couch!

Chrissy: I’m sorry. But, it was never happy once you left, you know. The cushions never quite bounced back.

Clare: I need to sit down. Assuming there's somewhere still available to me, that is.

Chrissy: Pouting gives you lines, you know. If you need a moment to recover ...

Clare: No, no. I understand. I can be strong. *grits teeth*

Chrissy: While Clare recovers, I’ll mention we dithered a bit before coming up with this month’s post. There’s so much to talk about it becomes difficult to choose a single topic. Summer is such a productive time, and plans want to be made and shared. However, we’re taking a break from our desire to move forward into the rest of the year’s goals …

Clare: … at a snail’s pace …

Chrissy: … and instead, we’re taking a look back.

Clare: To quote from another rather dashing fellow, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.”

Chrissy: And that fellow is…?

Clare: You Yanks. *sigh*. David Beckham, of course.

Chrissy: Of course. *coughs*

Clare: Chrissy and I recently participated in a chat. Nothing new there, you might say. But instead of using our old standby excerpts - first prepared when our story released and then never touched again – we needed to go through our work and come up with some new excerpts.

Chrissy: Not only was this a lot of work…

Clare: Can you say backlists?

Chrissy: … but also a chance to go back and take a look at how our writing had changed over time. It was quite fun.

Clare: You forgot to mention scary…

Chrissy: …and at times, let’s be honest, embarrassing.

Clare: Just like real life, looking back on where we’ve been or what we’ve written can be an eye opener.

Chrissy: Each story is a single snapshot in time. Bringing to mind the story behind the story. But unlike real life, when it comes to our writing, what happens to our published work stays in our published work.

Clare: At least until the rights revert back and there's a chance to do a massive re-edit.

Chrissy: I’ll never live down that giggle I found in one m/m piece I wrote. It jumps out at me now, every time I look at that story. I almost can’t see anything else.

Clare: Not to mention the twitching cock. *hums*

Chrissy: You just had to bring that up, didn't you? That was only once, and besides, even though I don’t claim personal ownership, the last time I had my hand on one the little bugger definitely twitched with interest on his way to bigger and better things.

Clare: TMI, Chrissy, TMI.

Chrissy: Well, you brought it up. Erh…wait, never mind… But what a great example of hindsight and context in action. Context raises his wooly head here because read more than a few romances (both het or gay) written three or more years ago and there’s cocks-a-twitching left and right. Then twitching hit the verboten list on the blog circuit, and other phrases became more accepted.

Clare: Really? You might have noticed this if you hadn’t been off looking at un-needed furniture.

Chrissy: Anyway. It made choosing an excerpt difficult as I wanted to use that section, but there he was, twitching away in all his glory, and if I believe everything I read, *cough* that’s now considered a turn-off. Not something that might entice someone to want to read more. A classic example of how rereading an older story can sometimes become a cringe-worthy occasion.

Clare: One that immediately fills us with the urge to re-edit the entire piece. Oh, the characters we should have renamed, plot points we should have developed rather than ignored, paragraphs we should have cut. Not to mention the examples of passive voice we can find, the sloppy dialogue tags. And the head-hopping, the head-hopping ... argh. The if-I-only-knew-then-what-I-know-now list can become endless.

Chrissy: And horrifying. Despite resolutions to truly live life without regrets….

Clare: …I’ll give you bloody regrets, you cold-hearted couch-replacer.

Chrissy: …it’s impossible when it comes to writing. We dare any author to read an older work and not find something they might wish they’d done differently.

Clare: And that's even after setting it to one side to "brew" a bit further before final submission, and all the subsequent edits. But both Chrissy and I agree that in the end, the experience preparing these excerpts became quite uplifting and gave us a good deal of joy and hope.

Chrissy: Hope that we continue to grow and mature as authors?

Clare: Well, that, and really, despite the obvious things we wish we could change with the snap of a finger - or twitch of a cock - the stories were still very enjoyable.

Chrissy: LOL. How many times did we stop and ask if we really wrote that? So, rather than looking at our older works with that oh-so-critical eye picking out each and every flaw…

Clare: …what would happen if we took a different approach and celebrated the *positives* in our past work?

Chrissy: Exactly. The old, half-full or half-empty approach, huh?

Clare: Sometimes we just have to be a little kinder to ourselves. Hindsight, while admirable, isn't very useful when all is said and done and the chance for edits long past. What’s the good of beating ourselves up over something already published?

Chrissy: It feeds into our masochistic tendencies?

Clare: That’s where a good pool boy comes in *smirks again*.

Clare and Chrissy: So, friends, other than a desire to tag along for Clare’s next travel adventure, how do you feel about our good friend, Hindsight?

Clare: As a reader, do you notice the progress of an author's work, if you follow them through the years? Do you have particular style triggers that you either *love* or drive you to throw your book (ereader) at the wall?

Chrissy: As an author, is it helpful or hurtful to read through older work? Can you share with us your own special example of "I can't believe I wrote that" and "how long before I live it down"?

Clare: Hmph. Like I'll forget the business of the couch any time soon...

Chrissy: Can I interest you in another frosty cold beverage?


Clare and Chrissy: Let us know what you think! Everyone who comments will be entered in a random drawing with one lucky winner receiving some of our sparkly Clare and Chrissy Swag!

Picture credits include: Brent Corrigan in "Every Poolboy's Dream" / Heinz's Spotted Dick sponge pudding / The Man With Two Heads by Mark Bryan.

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JUNE Winner: tiggothy - Congratulations! Please email Clare at clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk with your choice of eBook download from either of our current lists.

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