Writing Discussion

Wishing…

Milky way - Mobius Arch
[photo: Milky way – Mobius Arch by Kartik Ramanathan CC]
There are so many times I see glaring flaws in my own work, but don’t always know how to fix them. There are things that I know I’m not good at and struggle with. Maybe someday those parts of the writing process will get easier, but I don’t really know. Some of the things I see as flaws may not be flaws at all, but I lust over talents that seem to come other writers, and not to me.  Sometimes I wish…

That I had more poetry in me. I feel like my writing is stripped down and sparse, sometimes too much to the point. I adore gorgeous prose, and the unusual juxtaposition of words that can make you imagine things in ways you couldn’t with just your eyes and your senses.

That I could edit faster. I hear other writers talk about how edits take just a few weeks (not months, not years) and that they can process through rounds of feedback quickly. How do they do it? Some of these people aren’t taking any more time on their first drafts than I do. How do they get enough distance from the writing between drafts? A month isn’t enough for me. Maybe our minds just don’t work the same way.

That I was better showing the inner world of my character’s minds. I realize that I’ve expected their actions, and decisions, to tell who they are, just like in the real world, but novels don’t have that constraint. I have a hard time figuring out what’s too much and what’s not enough.

Three wishes upon a star. If you could wish for any extra writing abilities (or abilities in general) what would they be?

14 Comments

  1. Heh, our writing/editing styles sound kind of similar. Although I often prefer not to hear too many of a character’s inner thoughts…

    To be honest, I’ve expended a lot of time and energy toward accepting the way that I work — but if I could change things, I think the big one would just to be quicker. This business is filled with rejection, and that’s hard enough to endure under any circumstances, but I think it would be at least a smidge easier if I produced my work more quickly.

  2. I don’t think so much about flaws — I just think about things I’m good at and things I’m not so good at.

    Sentences, for example. My sentences are functional and competent. I’ve always said that every sentence Henry James ever wrote was better than any sentence I’ve ever written. Well, okay, so I’ve been learning how to do what I want with the sentences I have . I study the conversational tone of Rex Stout more than Henry James, for example.

    If I suddenly got magically-good sentences, I’d have to unlearn everything I’ve learned and start over — and I’m a bit too old to undertake a few decades of that process. I’ll stick with the sentences I have. 🙂

    Oh, and I’m more with Kristan about hearing characters’ thoughts. I have one character I’ve been writing about for forty years, and I just wrote a scene inside her head for the first time ever.

  3. I agree with you about editing more quickly! It almost always ends up being a longer process for me than drafting, and by the midway point I just want to be finished already. To go along with that, I’d also include a wish for writing more concisely from the get-go. I’ve never had a first draft that didn’t need to be cut significantly, because I tend to just write and write and write at the beginning. Would be nice not to have to do that!

    1. Ugh, after the midway point in an edit it’s always a struggle to get the end. You know though, I think most writers either overwrite or underwrite. I’m an under-writer so drafting involves adding words instead of taking them away. Both have their challenges!

  4. I wish I were better at character creation! I have a much easier (not easy, still hard, just easier!) time with plot and worldbuilding, but I never like the people that I populate my worlds with. Ah well – practice, more practice 🙂

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