Friday, March 18, 2011

Photoshopped Writing Edits

Hi all! Welcome to another exciting edition of GPF. Today we have a post from one of my favorite bloggers and closer blogging friends: The Enigmatic Masked Blogger

And no, I don't know her real name. If I did, I wouldn't tell you. Nothing personal. Some secrets are just too good to keep. 

But her blog is definitely worth a look, even though she recently took an indefinite hiatus. Her writing style always leaves me smiling by the end of the post. Except for the last one. 

Photoshopped Writing Edits

Over the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with a few Photoshop techniques. These have included anything from photoshopping a car, say, out of existence, to glamour touch-ups.

On one occasion, I was working on a glamour project: I’d done all the usual, removed the lines and blemishes, and made the skin smooth and flawless. I was very pleased with the results and showed it to a friend. She immediately pointed out the obvious fact that I’d been missing: “You’ve taken away her character!”

I had done the very thing that I abhor. This was the equivalent of a bland Hollywood remake. Highly polished and wonderfully edited. But, it no longer had much to do with the original picture. I had inadvertently mutated it into featureless, plastic-looking face. Just as well I’m not a plastic surgeon.

This is perhaps just as easily done in writing.

We’ve written a scene in which we’ve projected unbridled passion, straight from the heart. Let’s be careful not to dilute our self-expression while editing . . .

We read on a daily basis, the importance of this, that and the other. The techniques that should guide us, and the rules to which we should unquestioningly adhere.

But, this isn’t a science; it’s an art form.

Certainly, we should always consider the rules which could help us produce polished, well-crafted phrases and sentences. But we should also be very careful not to be so slavish to them, that we make our work clinical or insipid.

Be prepared to break the mould, and push the boundaries. And, whatever you do, stay true to the raw emotion that you originally wrote. Although we should always strive to be well-written, I think it’s worth keeping in mind, there’s no comparison between primeval instinct and man-made regulations.

Let’s be careful not to over-Photoshop our scenes and allow them to lose their original character.

Thanks again Mask. I really really really hope you're coming back soon.


  1. I do miss Mask, hope she comes back soon :(

    She's so right - staying true to the raw emotions is a definite necessity, something I'm trying to work out right at the moment!



  2. This was a great post Mask! Wonderfully written with a message that rings true.

  3. Great point.
    Thank you both for sharing!

  4. Hi Misha,
    Our 'masked friend' does some wonderful writing. I have had the great honour of encouraging and supporting our 'masked friend', right from the very beginning of our 'masked friend's' postings.
    We have interacted with each other in the background and I believe our ongoing support of each other through the magic and the power of the written word, has been deeply profound.
    And when ready, may our 'masked friend', delight us with more of their thoughtful words.
    With respect and kind wishes for the weekend,
    Gary :)

  5. Ooo...I shall have to pop over to the Masks blog. Thank you for the recommendation.

    I'm hopeless with Photoshop but you've made a great analogy to writing. We need to do just enough and never overdo it!

  6. Now I know why I don't bother with Photoshop, other than it's so much work. I try to do the opposite with my wip. I try to add character with each draft. At least I hope that's what I'm doing. ;)

  7. Yes, Enigmatic has made an excellent point. On a DVD composer John Taverner was talking about the poet and illustrator William Blake. He said that while Blake's works were not *technically& perfect, they were full of "soul" and that's what made Blake such a divine poet. In a way, when we over-edit, or "photoshop", our writing we remove the soul (or character or heart) from our words. I'd rather have writing with heart t than perfect writing, wouldn't you?
    Judy (South Africa)

  8. I try not to photoshop my characters! Good advice, thank you!

    Misha, I have an award for you on my blog, do pop over to collect when you can.

    Happy Friday! ;-)

  9. Ooh, I love this idea! Thanks!

  10. Thanks for this great post. At times I can be accused of photo shopping my scenes and losing the voice or thought I wanted to originally convey. I will be careful now.

  11. Sometime I edit things to death, and you're right, at some point it loses its luster. How is that even possible? The more you polish something, the better it gets, right? Wrong.

    You're so right, Mask. Learning when to stop editing a scene is so important. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Great blog post, we should know to put some limits to editing in order to retain the soul.

  13. Wonderful post. We writers really do need to stick to our guns and be ourselves. And best wishes to Mask!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  14. Great post Mask! I fellow Photoshopian to boot. Miss you dear. Come back soon.

  15. Rah, I also worry that I will edit away the soul of my book. Which is why I decided not to edit until the entire thing is done. :-)

    I'm glad you liked it, Marjorie.

    Thanks Al. :-D

    I hope so too, Gary. Hope you had a lovely weekend. :-)

    Ellie, I never even tried Photoshop, although I might, one day. :-)

    Stina, that's a good focus to have, adding character. I'll definitely start thinking of it like that. :-)

    Absolutely Judy, perfect writing without soul won't touch readers. It would be too clinical. :-)

    Thanks so much, Talei! :-)

    Glad you liked it, Shayda. :-D

    Rachna, me too. That's why I keep my inner editor quiet until I'm ready to control him. :-)

    E.C. that happens to me too. It's almost like I water down the scenes more than I distill it.

    So true, Myne. :-)

    I agree, Sarah. Things are so much better when we keep our belief in the quality of what we said. :-)

    Thanks for dropping by, Karie. :-D


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