Monday, April 23, 2012

Writing Freckles

I'm face deep in the editing gauntlet right now. My goal is to knock out two chapters a day, and thus make it through the entire novel in two weeks. (Actually 15 days, but who's counting?) I started in earnest on Friday, so it probably won't be until the second week of May before we get Fates' Motif released. That's all right, though. Gives The Only Sparkle some time to air.

I wanted to write about a phenomenon I've noticed as recurrent on this, my third trip through the "official-I'm-really-going-to-share-this-with-the-world" gauntlet. As with most authors, I alternate between loving and hating my writing. There are days when I'm all "this rocks" and other days where my face needs to be scraped off the keyboard.

In general, though, I'd like to think that I'm fairly confident of my writing ability. I need only read a book by (insert celebrity here) to be reminded that, often, writing ability has very little to do with what sells. Sure, being a phenom with a pen (or keyboard) helps, but it is not the be-all, end-all of selling books. Most readers (myself included) will tolerate sub-deity writing if the story is solid and we feel properly entertained. I'm not trying to solve world hunger with my prose, just get you to maybe smile a bit. Keeping it in that perspective can help shut the old inner-critic up. When faced with bouts of doubt, I try to ask myself: "will someone, somewhere enjoy this?" Will it make someone smile (or sniffle, whatever the case may be)? That seems to me to be a more realistic expectation, though I still want to shoot for the moon (that would be guffaws or wracking sobs, if we're using the International Reader Emotional Response Scale).

Anyway, the recurrent issue here is what I'll call a "writing freckle." You see, we writers can be a vain bunch. Sometimes, when we're checking ourselves out in the metaphorical mirror like we think we're supermodels (you know you do it), we're pleased with all that tanned skin we've worked hard to keep tight and smooth. Expensive lotions and our personal cookie-swatter hover nearby, pleased with their contributions to our perfect literary beach bod.

And then, we see it. IT. The freckle. The tiny blemish in an otherwise flawless countenance. Tiny to the cameras maybe, but to us it's HUGE. Omigod, get it off. Getitoff!

Yeah, I have writing freckles. Maybe "mole" is a better term. Freckles can be cute. Has anyone ever accused a mole of being cute? I don't know, but I digress.

There are certain scenes that I'm just not fond of... but I can't, for the life of me, think of a better way to do them. Perhaps a lot of it is relative inexperience. I mean, I'm still new to this whole professional writing thing. Maybe the Steven Kings of the world really do have flawless skin. To the contrary, though, I suspect that I just don't possess a camera with enough magnification to spot their freckles. I'm sure if I sat down with any master storyteller, they'd be able to point out their own blemishes in a New York minute.

Maybe I'm wrong, though, hence the reason for writing this. Am I the only one with these writing freckles? Generally, my alphas, betas, and editors don't point out these discolored parts, so they can't be glaring. They're just bothersome to me, and maybe only to me. It's hard to say. I mean, what if they're just studiously avoiding staring at my butt for propriety's sake (and what a butt, or that fat thing... depending on the day, right?). It'll be covered by my swimsuit anyway.

At the end of the day, I've decided that I should accept my writerly complexion and move on. Perhaps the freckles give me a unique visage; maybe they're not all bad. What is glaring to me may be endearing to a reader.  Also, when it comes to the point of either sharing with freckles, or not sharing at all (since I can't seem to eradicate all of the little guys), I'd rather share. What good is a beautiful hermit?


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