Two writing lessons I’ve struggled with as I’ve moved through one complete WoC (Write or Consequences) challenge (ending in an ice bath), and almost through a second challenge (I’m on track to meet this goal – although an ice bath in the middle of a Texas summer might not be as bad as one in February ;o).
The first lesson has been learning to trust “The Girls” – writer’s parlance for the “muses”, and the second has been learning to let go of my inner editor. See my April 27, 2015 blog Blissfully Ignorant versus Seasoned Veteran.
Attacking my second writing lesson has been far more difficult than the first. Why? Hell, girl and boys, I’ve been in this racket for more years than I care to admit, and by this time, so I tell myself, I should be able to crank out some pretty clean pages. And to that aim, I spend an enormous amount time “prettying” up my prose. And what is the end result of that exercise? Omniscient POV, too much narrative, stiff dialogue, telling not showing. Yep, a pretty impressive list of what NOT to do. Isn’t that peachy?
Letting go of your inner editor – those are just words. And in a world dominated by words, they are easier said than done. I did make remarkable progress by participating in BIAM (Book in a Month). If I’m in the right place come October, I fully intend to participate again. However, it’s all that in between time that has been kicking my butt.
I once took a class by Sam Havens, Professor Emeritus at the University of St. Thomas here in Houston, and he said you have to learn to write drunk. No, not literally (although I’m sure he did not rule that out). What he meant is let go of the rules and let the words flow. And get over your egomaniacal self that simply can’t stand the idea of turning in something less than stellar.
And what is the end result of that exercise? Crappy prose to be sure, but an environment rich for the The Girls to cast their magic – emotional resonance, paradox, juxtaposition, and if you’re lucky maybe some cool plot twists. So what if every sentence starts with she? So what if you’re missing some dialogue tags? So what if there ain’t a transition or a hook in sight. Silly Rabbit, that’s what second drafts are for.
Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.
Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.
Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.