Friday, March 25, 2011

A Quest for Writerly Ways

         Ok, I’ve been staring at this blank page for 15 minutes trying to figure out some writerly way to say what I want to say.
I don’t know how they do it, those writers who lock themselves away, pour over the keyboard for hours writing and rewriting until they turn a perfect manuscript to their editor.
Maybe it’s a myth.
I’ve often said that writing is like trying to see yourself in a full-length mirror from about 2 inches away. You can’t see that mustard stain on your shirt or hole in the knee of your pants. You’re too close to it.
The same with writing; you’re too close to the story and the characters to see the obvious. You see it as you think it should be instead of as it is.
Thank God for readers. Becky tries her best to show me what’s in the mirror, but best of all, our critique group sets us straight.
I have a character I love. He’s pro-active, gruff, illogical, stupid, goofy—in short, everything I aspire to be. He brings chaos every time he enters a scene and dominates the page. He’s someone we all can look down on and still feel good about it.
I love him—too much.
For me, he takes a humorous story and makes it a funny story, but I’m 2 inches away from the mirror. He’s getting in the way of the pacing, and he has to be taken out or scaled back—we’ll know soon. After the critique group reads the last 2 chapters we’ll get their feedback and decide what to do with Captain Chaos.
I’m rooting for him.
But I’m rooting for the story more.

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