Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

In Oliver when our hero asked for more porridge he got chased and sold by Mr. Bumble. I can sympathize with Mr. Bumble. Sometimes being asked to provide more is just enough to send a person over the edge.

In my AP English class, many moons ago, our teacher, Mr. Smith, had the tendency to stroke his beard, look at us closely and say "Can you give me more?"

He wanted more in depth discussion of the book. He wanted more details in the essays. He wanted us to dig deeper. To really get to the heart of the matter.

We'd look at him and think "No, this is as much as I've got. I can't give you anymore." And when he kept insisting, we sometimes felt like chasing him away too.

But, of course, he was right. We could dig deeper. And we did.

And now, today, I'm working on revisions and reading through comments from my awesome critique buddies. And what am I seeing on one particular scene?

You guessed it. They want more.

More emotion, more of being in the moment, more of just about darn near everything.

And my first reaction is like that of Mr. Bumble - to give chase - or like our reaction to Mr. Smith - 'there isn't anymore'.

But yet, they're right. I can dig deeper. I can give more. I can make the scene better.

So, another cup of tea. And I'll start that digging.

Happy revisions everyone - and a belated Happy New Year. (It's time to get back in the habit of blogging again.)


  1. Thanks, Chris, for this reminder. I know exactly what you mean about teachers asking for "more" when you have no idea what to say - but I've never thought of it in that context when I'm critiquing. (And now I'm going to picture myself as Oliver when you submit next!)

    But as I writer, I needed the reminder that yes, there is more, just as much.

  2. And Sarah, I'll be Mr. Bumble hollering that you can't have more. ... but then I'll give in and give more anyway.

  3. Too funny, Chris. Nice analogy. And, yes! Revisions are all about giving more, isn't it? Good luck!

  4. Thanks, Vivian. That is what revisions are about. I hate to admit that Mr. Smith was right (because I found him so annoying at the time) but it does seem like it's always possible to dig a little deeper; give a little more.