Recently we watched a couple of episodes of The Rachel Zoe Project , for reasons we do not feel the need to disclose at this time. Rachel Zoe, for those of you who don't know, is a Celebrity Stylist (i.e. someone who picks out clothes for people who are so incapacitated by their own wealth they are unable to dress themselves) who initially became famous by transforming Nicole Richie from this into this Watching Rachel Zoe in action, a number of things become clear: she is a. deeply terrifying, b. someone who really ought to eat a sandwich, and c. not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. However, she is also a lady who Gets Stuff Done. And someone who Gets Stuff Done, author-friends, is someone who has Important Lessons to offer you.
1. Kill Your Darlings. They are always telling you this in Fiction 101, right? But it's true. Sometimes your wild brilliant best-beloved ideas are also the ones that completely, totally FAIL. Like when you are selecting Anne Hathaway's dress for the Oscars, and you have a Vision, that the dress you need is totally a particular Armani couture gown but what it Really Really Needs is a GIGANTIC TRAIN MADE OUT OF TAFFETA and you get Giorgio Armani to make you the gigantic train of taffeta custom and send it to your hotel room along with his entire Support Team, which is a lot more people than OUR poor long-suffering and deeply beloved Support Team, and you realize when you see the Armani dress on the live model that Giorgio Armani has specially sent you, from like Belorus or wherever they get ladies that skinny, that the whole gigantic train of taffeta was actually not a good idea, and you have to be all like, "Never mind about the taffeta, I changed my mind," even though Giorgio Armani's entire Support Team is staring at you in disbelief and hatred. We never said writing was EASY.
2. Be Open To The Joyful Accident. By which we do not mean In Your Pants. This is like when you are completely fixated on the Armani for Anne H. but suddenly poof! become aware that Marchesa makes some very lovely dresses also, with nice beaded details. So that whole part of your novel where you thought Muffy the Bunny should go to Happyville and bake gingerbreads? Maybe Muffy is actually a VAMPIRE. Fling yourself upon the wild abandon that is the Universe, Author-friends. The Accident loves you. Love it back. You think we are talking out our ass right now, but we are so quoting Sark, who makes a lot more money than either of us, so MAYBE YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION.
3. Love Your Support Team. Like poor bleachy Louboutin-ed skeletal assistant Taylor, who is so underappreciated! And that one time she hauled all over the known universe trying to find the perfect outfits for Jennifer Garner's magazine spread and then it totally turned out the photo shoot was just a face shot and all her hard work was for nothing and she wanted to cry a little bit but still she had the love for Rachel even though it was Rachel's fault for not telling her it was totally just a face shot and the outfits were completely unnecessary! Or surprisingly sensible husband Rodger, who is always full of sage advice, like: "People might be talking about how much they hate you, but they're still talking about you, which is a lot more than they are talking about other people." Who is at home right now, author-friends, putting up with your wack shit and all your whining all the time about how you are No Good and will Never Amount To Anything and maybe you should just go into retail or shoot yourself and probably you are also heinously ugly and a failure but everyone is just too polite to tell you but also the only people who get published suck waaaaaay way way more than you and there is no goddamn justice in this ugly hateful world? Who is making gentle soothing noises and hitting you upside the head when you are being really pathetic? Your dear sweetheart? Your mom? Your pop? Your bestie? Your boss? Your wee kitten? Your own Killer Yapp? LOVE THAT PERSON, Author-friends. LOVE THEM. And share the cookies.
4. Cut the Fat. Your BOOK. Not YOU. Good lord, we are not EVIL. All that flabby exposition, all that gelatinous dialogue, the saddlebags of your plot twists; imagine the liposuction, author-friends! The juice fast! The hotbox yoga! Whatever it takes! Work it! Work it! and Cut! Cut! CUT! Look at Rachel! You think SHE eats carbohydrates? NO EXTRA WEIGHT, author-friends. Not an OUNCE.
Okay, so we only watched 1.5 episodes of The Rachel Zoe Project, in five-minute increments on Youtube, because we don't own a television. But aren't those good lessons?