Captain Obvious

Today I’m re-running my original Captain Obvious post…

because I’m busy building a 500 piece Lego house  🙂

I just spent the entire weekend having long, contentious arguments with Captain Obvious.

Who is Captain Obvious?

Well, it’s simple really.

Captain Obvious stops by for a visit every time I read a sentence, paragraph, or, regrettably, sometimes even a page, where I’ve told my reader repeat, or unnecessary information that doesn’t move the storyline along.

 Here’s a snippet of a recent conversation…

“Hey!” yelled Captain Obvious. “You’ve told them that already!”

“But, no, you don’t understand,” my stammering protests fill the air. “These words—they’re so beautiful, so brilliant; I simply can’t bear to send them away.”  

“Loser!” Captain Obvious charged forward with the harsh truth, completely oblivious to my tender fragility. “There’s only so many times you have to tell the reader that people on the Oregon Trail who don’t have water ARE THIRSTY, AND LOOK FOR IT A LOT!”

Regrettably, Captain Obvious is usually right.

Highlight. Delete. Move on.


25 thoughts on “Captain Obvious

  1. Once, I killed a character. Then stated that her friends were sad.

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. When you’re just trying to put the words on the page, you forget that Captain Obvious is standing over you with a sledgehammer or something.

  2. Captain Obvious is a real pain … mostly because the arrogant so and so is usually right. I had to put the screws to two people in the last WIP. Relentless, he pointed and BAM … they were gone. 🙂

    Great post. Good luck with the lego house. 🙂

  3. Script,

    I’ve struggled through endless battles with the Captain, only to lose every one. I should start saving my time and giving in immediately 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting and I hope to see you here again.


  4. Aloha,

    Oh how I know your pain. During my endless drafts of my novel (s) I’ve been so amazed at the things I’ve written. The water stuff I mentioned in this post was the easiest to recall, but some other highlights of my sillyness have included that travelors are tired, cold, hungry, etc… All of those are true, but don’t need to be mentioned almost daily 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment. I look forward to seeing you here again.


  5. Ramblings,

    I’m checking in and doing comments because the Lego house has already made me want to grit my teeth and grumble. Seriously with all the pieces?

    My twins better play with this thing for hours for all the work we’re putting into it. Building things with five-year-olds is easy for some people, but after the long drive(s) I’m finding I need a break 🙂

    Good luck with your Captain 🙂


  6. Christi, I recall an incident with lego pieces and the dog. She thought they made great chewy toys.

    Thanks for your lovely comments. I missed you during your hiatus, good to have you back and relax, it only gets better as they get older. 🙂

  7. Ramblings,

    So far, I’ve opened up a Light Bright and managed to spill the pegs all over myself, the couch, and the floor. After profuse scrambling to pick them all up I then moved on to opening a bunch of other toys with crazy small pieces.

    Good thing the kitty and dog are sleeping 🙂


  8. Hi – got here through Laura!

    I think Captain Obvious needs to visit me when he’s done at your place 🙂

    We’ve been building our Lego star wars here too….and making sparkling barbies – the two just go hand in hand. lol
    noticed your twitter on the side bar (i’m not on twitter). Wii games good for young and adult alike : super mario (love it, brings me back to MY childhood and the 4 year-old plays without problem) and Donkey Kong for the same reasons. Have fun!

  9. We have both Lego and Duplo sets stored with our box of ‘company’ toys that visitors and grandchildren pull out every time they come. They love them but I’ve discovered I don’t have the patience for Lego… plus I hate hearing the clunk whenever the vacuum finds overlooked pieces!

    My condolences on your encounters with Mr. Obvious. He visits me, too, and usually gives encouragement to the Inner Critic who is busy telling me the writing is crap anyway. ::sigh::

  10. Jennifer,

    Laura is great. I love her book trailer!

    I have been building this house FOREVER. There are 539 pieces and this thing has taken over my life! I have five-year-old twins and the set is for 7 to 12 year olds so it is definitely slow going. We look through all the assorted bins I portioned the pieces into, pull the appropriate ones, check the directions to make sure of the style/amount, and then proceed to build. Then, once we complete that step we match our building up to the directions to make sure it’s right.

    I know I’m teaching them in a way slow manner, but I look at it with the idea that if I teach them once the absolutely correct way then maybe once they’re older they will repeat my slooooooow teaching and get each step right.

    In the meantime, it is taking forever. But, at least it is fun time spent with them 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestions for the Wii. I loved Super Mario and Donkey Kong as a kid, so I’m super glad you let me know I can get them now!

    Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here again.


  11. Timkeen40,

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Check out the above post for my slooooow progress with the Lego house. I’m thinking of posting some pictures of our progress since everyone is commenting so be sure to check back in over the next few days…or weeks at the rate we’re going 🙂


  12. Carol,

    I had Legos growing up, and my parents had super deep carpet. My poor mom was always either stepping on them or vacuuming them up 🙂

    What is the difference between Lego and Duplo?


  13. Laura,

    I loved this post so much when I first ran it which is why I chose it to rerun while I was building the Lego house (which we just finished). The Captain stops by every once in a while and usually makes quite an impression on my and my WIP.

    Thanks for stopping by,


  14. Haha, brilliant! I have encounters with the good captain quite frequently too. And with his counterpart (for whom I don’t have a clever name ready), who pointed out to me recently that “he didn’t think about it, for some odd reason” was hardly a reason and seemed like I didn’t know why and just wanted the plot to move on, which was exactly what was going on.

  15. M. Howalt,

    That counterpart sounds storyline related…how about we come up with a clever name?

    Storyline McMoveitalong?

    Stalling VonStoryline?

    I’ll have to keep thinking about that one 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your comments.


  16. M. Howalt,

    Hmmmm, I’m sensing project for you and I to work on…coming up with awesome names 🙂

    You in?


  17. M,

    Nice one! I’ll add that to the list. Speaking of names for things, did you check out my post for today? In it, you’ll meet my neighbors…The Disgustingtons.


  18. I can’t take credit for the name unfortunately…it was from a episode of the television show, Friends.

    But, it is so useful for the situation I couldn’t resist using it 🙂


  19. Pingback: Two Hilarious Links for Writers « Christi Corbett's Blog

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