Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nothing Profound

Does any writer ever read over her (or his) own stuff and think it sounds professional? I mean, I sit down and read a good book - perhaps one I've designated a keeper - and I worry that I'll never write that good. Sure enough, when I go back and read over my own efforts they seem sadly amateurish. It's very discouraging. I keep wondering what the secret is. How did that particular author make her characters come alive and how did she craft her story such that I can't put the book down? What's the magic key that I need so my writing does the same?

I know it's all about practice, but the problem is, I have never been able to read my own work and not thought it lacking. I'm not one of those people who moan "I'm no good! I suck!!" just to hear other people say "Oh, no! You're wonderful!!" I have a healthy level of confidence; there are many books I've read where I've known I could do it better. When I say that rereading my stuff is discouraging, I'm not fishing for compliments.

So I turn to the rules. You know, those rules of writing - take out the "thats" and remove as many adverbs as possible and don't use any speech tag other than "said". I look at every sentence to see if I'm telling when I should be showing (usually that's the problem).

Except I hate the rules. Loathe them. I understand where they came from and why they are good ideas in a basic way. But reading Allison's recent post about The Rules gave my heart a big lift. I love it when such ideas are dismissed and once again I'm encouraged to just write, damn it.

This isn't really going anywhere profound. Sorry. Just allowing some self-doubt to leak out hoping it'll stop festering in my brain. Tracy Sprayberry had one of those what am I doing posts the other day and I found myself nodding along with every word I read. And since it made me feel a whole lot better seeing that I'm not the only one who feels the way I do, I figure maybe this bit will show someone else that she is not alone.

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