And Now a Few Words from Our Inner Voices (and Former Teachers)

Everyone’s a critic–or has one. Let’s hear it (or not) for those voices we hear in our heads–the ones that whisper all kinds of not-so-helpful advice, from our second grade teachers to our very own, personal editors. Read on to find out what the Chicks hear, over and over–and maybe sneak a peek at our old report cards!

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Lisa’s Inner Editor: “One cannot start a sentence with BUT.”

Lisa: “But…”

Inner Editor: “What is wrong with you? One cannot end a sentence with a preposition, either.”

Lisa: “Aargh!! When is this going to be over?”

Mrs. Watson, Lisa’s 8th Grade English Teacher (to Editor): I assure you, she’s hopeless. She refused to diagram sentences in class, and diagramming is The Secret of Life.

Lisa: “Forget it, I need a cookie break.” *stomps to fridge*

Inner Dietician: But do you really need one? Have you thought this through?

 Ellen Byron


Ellen’s report card: This would be in the Comments section:

“Ellen works hard but is too easily distracted by Facebook, Twitter, and shopping for swag she shouldn’t be buying. I’ve noticed her attention drifts after a mere thirty minutes. She needs to stay focused on her work for longer periods of time. And constantly checking her email does not count as work.”

Vickie Fee

vickieVickie’s report card: Plays well with others – A+. Vickie loves chatting with the Chicks and her friends on Facebook, but talks too much during writing assignment period. Finishes her work in a timely manner – B+. She always makes deadline (just barely), but could manage her time better. Spends too much time staring at the blinking cursor. Reading Comprehension – A+. Vickie reads above grade level, but often sneaks out her latest TBR instead of focusing on her WIP. Grammar and punctuation – B+. She overuses commas. Copyeditor is doing remedial work with Vickie on her comma abuse.

Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

Note from my inner editor: Okay, I know you don’t like to describe people, but c’mon, give us something here! Surely you’ve seen other people before. You leave the house occasionally, yes? Notice how everyone looks different from each other? Go with it! Give them eyes, hair, height, a hook hand if you must. Even Lego people have different hair colors, even if they do all have the same body type. And while you’re at it, that joke you  wrote on page 73? Of course, you know I think you’re hilarious, but I’m pretty sure your actual editor is going to tell you to cut it. Just a heads-up so you don’t get too attached.

Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaMe: (typing away happily) And now for the twist…
Inner Critic: This is stupid. Probably the stupidest thing you’ve ever written.
Me: Really?
Inner Critic: Don’t use the word “really.” It’s a filler word.
Me: I’ll change it when I finish this draft.
Inner Critic: You’ll never finish this draft.
Me: Really?

(repeat ad nauseam)

Hey, readers, writers, and former elementary school students! What do those inner voices and editors and former teachers in your heads love to tell YOU? 


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25 thoughts on “And Now a Few Words from Our Inner Voices (and Former Teachers)

  1. All of these could be about me except Lisa’s (apologies to Lisa’s teachers and inner editor, but I start sentences with “but” and end them with prepositions without even thinking twice). Somehow the books get done though, so I’m giving all of us an A+!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m a sentence frag enabler! I like sentences that start with “And” and “But.” And that preposition rule? I break it with glee!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. On my first quarter first grade report card in 1961, mind you, the teacher checked “unsatisfactory” for “using time wisely”. Mother wasn’t happy. I have been haunted by that ever since. BTW, I think staring off into space is using time wisely.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Keenan, half of a writer’s life is staring off into space, right?! My first grade report card said needs improvement on “Works Independently.” My mom thought that meant I was copying off other kids’ papers. Teacher: No. Vickie is TOO independent!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. LOL, what fun! I should have added my inner editor scolding me for my hating to describe clothes. Editor: “‘She changed from her tee shirt and jeans into a clean tee shirt and jeans’ does NOT count as creative description!”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Not only do I start lots of sentences with “but,” I also start them with and. In fact, I think I start more sentences with and than but.

    And don’t get me started on ending sentences with prepositions. I feel like that’s a rule that has gone by the way side since so many people don’t even know the parts of speech anymore. And sometimes the sentences you have to write to avoid this rule are so much more awkward.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mark, I’ve been doing some freelance editing and I find myself looking up the most current “rules”–and more often than not, two different ways are correct (and one is now considered (ahem) dated). Yesterday I learned, for example, that “engrained” is a no no, lol.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sixth grade: Grace is such a poor speller we can’t have her represent the school in the county-wide spelling bee even if no one else is available because of the championship basketball game that day her strict father won’t let her attend because it is in a another city. So we are forced to make another student represent us and miss the game. Historical footnote: I read a lot, became a good speller, made my living as a writer-editor, and went on to write fiction. There!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Inter editor: Why can’t you write what is in your brain? You are wasting my time.
    Report card: Hestia refuses to read out loud.
    Priest: Hestia is a wonderful reader. She loves to read passages out loud in front of the entire congregation.
    Report card: She needs to be put in a “special” class for slow learners.
    Mother Superior: The California standardized test came in. Hestia is 8 years old, but has the intelligence of an 11th grader. Mom: The test is wrong. Mother Superior: We had it double checked. Your daughter is unusually brilliant for her age.
    Report card: Hestia keeps to herself and won’t play with the other kids.
    Hestia: The kids make fun of me because I always say the right answer.

    No wonder my inner editor is so mean to me!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. True story:
    Voice of post-college writing teacher (after I read through the first draft of my now-soon-to-be-released debut novel): Why are they there and not at the airport? The story should take place at the airport.(footnote: book mc works at airport)

    Inner editor: Oh, yeah. DUH!

    SWEAR to god I heard her voice, clear as if she was standing next to me. She lives a state away.

    Liked by 3 people

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