Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U for the Ugly Stage

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! You can visit the Home Page HERE.

Courtesy of Fun Pics Free

My discussion today is about the Ugly Stage. I was talking to my sister, Loretta Stephenson (Art By Retta) a couple of days ago about how with artist and writers, you get to a place in your work that suddenly looks ugly or like something for the trash can. I have sat down to re-read a piece that, the day before sounded good, but today sounds terrible! What happened? Did I miss it the first time? Or am I just going through the Ugly Stage?

I have it on good authority that artists go through the same thing with pictures. There is a place where the picture is in its stage of development that has the beginnings of a picture in it, but it's not quite finished, so it looks ugly to the artist. In writing, while we are building our story and before we have have fleshed it out to become three dimensional, there is a place where the story looks bad, or unfinished. That's when we have to go back and start the real work. Putting in the color and taking out the adverbs (we all know about adverbs, right?). Choosing the right words to express what we mean can create the right texture for our piece. Changing a few words here and there and adding a few lines to give our character the right look can make all the difference in the world. For example: He was very tired. Or, He dropped into a chair, exhausted, with sweat pouring off his face. Which do you prefer?

Have you noticed the ugly stage in your work? If you have and can't find a solution, put it away for a while. Set the piece on the back burner and go on to something else. Later, when you are fresh, come back to it and see what kind of re-writes it needs. After that, give it to a critique partner or a friend who will give you an honest answer and get new ideas. My critique partner is a gem. She's honest and encouraging at the same time.

What are you working on? Are you in the Ugly Stage? Share your thoughts with me...


  1. First, I'm still laughing over the expression on that baby!

    Yeah... The Ugly Stage. Seems it afflicts all creatives, whatever the discipline.

    I liked your sweaty and tired example... make it crystal clear! I could almost smell him. :-O

    1. Rettakat: Yes... the baby is appalled at what he sees, right? At least that what I thought of.

      We are not alone in experiencing the Ugly Stage. Many famous individuals can tell us of their experiences through their books and interviews.

      That example was my active voice, which I talk about tomorrow. Oh goody!