Are we ever going to get this right?

I’m talking about writing. I’m really at the point in my writing career where I wonder if I’m ever gonna get it ‘right’ in terms of all of the advice out there. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a different process they are trying to sell to the world, and some days I really wonder if what I’m doing is right in the eyes of all the experts out there.

So I write in a particular order? No, probably not. Do I develop a story and character arc based on what the books say I should do? No… I don’t think I do. Is it the right (write) way to do things? No. Probably not, either. Sometimes I think about the endgame first. You know what though? I don’t fecking care.

Some days I think about a character/person (because let’s face it – I get inspired by people too)… and I think about one attribute of that character, like how they hate something… like let’s pick Drugs, as a subject, and I wonder what the hell they would do if they got caught in the middle of the drug deal. What would their motivations be… and could that actually make for a good story. How about we throw in an abandoned yacht into the mix (based on an Australian news article I was following back in 2008) and figure out how that can be incorporated into the story. Oh, right, I almost forgot – we need a place to set this. Best technique ever? Spin a globe, close your eyes, and point your finger. Woo! I have just subconsciously selected a beautiful island in the Mediterranean… Nice. Guess I better learn about it.

Crazy stuff right? Well, yes. This, dear reader, is a direct fecking line into my brain. You want to know how this writer thinks? Randomly. Snippets and moments in time… carefully piecing together erratic thoughts and emotions that could potentially turn into something bigger. Sometimes I’m looking for something… sometimes I’m closing off something from my life. But the whole time I’m doing this – I’m creating. You will never be able to talk to me without me thinking and processing different slivers of information, searching for something to inspire.

Where am I going with all this? Well… I have been reading over an old manuscript, and I think I need to get it off my desk and out into the reader’s hands. This all stems from a conversation between me and my mother the other night, and a discussion she had with a friend of hers who picked up my book when he was staying with us once upon a time. Ever since then, he has raved about it to all and sundry. Is it the greatest book in the world? Hell no. Not in my view. But I have worked hard on it over the years.

The biggest problem I have with this book is that I am constantly wondering if I am ever going to get it right. The more books I read on the writing craft, and other stories out there… the more I question myself about it and the longer it stays on my desk, festering in the corner. One day I’m just going to have to let it go and stop questioning about whether or not it’s ready.

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2 Comments

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  1. Ya know, we almost all do that as writers to some extent. It’s how the inspiration happens: a snippet, a world, a character emerging fully formed, a what if. Go with it. These are always good things. The reason there are so many books out there is because everyone writes differently. As Stephen King says, the first draft is for you. Get the story out. The second draft is for your audience. This is when you start resculpting it. Hang in there, you can do it.

    Deb

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