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Monday, January 19, 2009

Fiction has to make sense...

Well, after successfully procrastinating on Facebook for about an hour by planting virtual trees to save the rain forests and trying to recruit friends for the "Feel Your Boobies" breast cancer awareness cause, I finally logged out and sat staring at my monitor hoping for something revelatory to reach out and grab me. Ughhhh! Revisions.

I enjoy free writing so much better than the revising. I think because, as I've mentioned before, I have a constant and sometimes nasty struggle between my "Editing Diva" and my "Free-Spirited Muse." I'm literally equal parts right and left-brainer. 49% vs. 51%. So, my creative flow is many times stifled by Editor Diva's pushy perfectionism. Particularly during this process. I've found my free-spirited muse tied up and gagged in the corner a few times during this revision.

I have the disease called "paralysis of analysis." I over think things and fret and stress. "Maybe I shouldn't have nixed that scene or dialogue. Maybe I should take this out... no, I need to take out this instead. Oh, I should expound on this a bit," and so on and so on. I'm very close to finishing this revision, so I'm spending a lot of time asking myself, "Who's gonna read this?" And, "Who am I going to appeal to?" I believe that I already know, but when you struggle with such a disease as POA, self-doubt haunts you. Actually, it runs you down, beats you up and steals your lunch money.

"The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy

It's the making sense that's such a huge deal. My manuscript makes absolute and beautiful sense to me. But, am I able to sit back with honest and un-bias discernment and understand if it will make sense to others? Will they feel my passion? Will they "get" the story? Will they fall in love with my characters as I have and think about them long after they've put the book down? Will an agent sigh a sigh of contentment after reading the last line of the manuscript and say, "That was a great story. One I will remember for a long time."

These are my prerequisites to knowing that I've written something really good. I don't want mediocre for my writing life. I'd rather wait four years and get it right, than squeeze something out that's fair in less time. (I've done that before and have regretted it ever since.) I simply want to take the reader's breathe away.

Now, I know that this has been quite a transparent post. I've aired my current vulnerabilities, defenseless against the yet unknown opinions of those that will matter. But, I don't think that I'm feeling much different about the ending of this revision process as many of you out there who are enduring the same thing and hearing the same "voices." Yep, I said voices as in "voices in the head." As SEAL has said, "We're never gonna survive unless we get a little bit crazy!" That song has actually been my personal theme song since I began writing.

We're gonna fly people! And, if we're gonna fly, we need to be just a little bit "touched."

That's the thing about the writing life. Writers need to be a little... how should I say it? "Off?" Who else in the world would sign up for a job that has so much more rejection than any other (aside from parenting)? We ask for it in order to help us grow and develop. We write, rewrite, revise, re-revise, query, query, query, query, and then, we wait and wait and wait, sometimes for months. And after a long while, hopefully, it happens... we get a, "Yes!" Then, there's the editing process and agents subbing to publishing houses. Let's not even get started on that. Then, we do it all over again.

WOW! We are some crazy people! Gluttons for punishment. But, it's worth it all when it all comes together. We do it all for the love and passion of the craft.

So, I've said all of this to say, I'm almost finished with my current revisions, and then on to querying again. And, I'm feeling just a little bit vulnerable. Thanks for hearing me out. You guys rock!


Shoe Mood:

Getting comfy for the long run!


Rena said...

Awwww, good luck with your revisions. I don't know what I like better -- free writing or going back to revise. I can only hope that when I go back, I'm improving things and not making it worse.

CJ Raymer said...

Rena - That's EXACTLY what I was meaning! YES! I'm hoping that I'm in fact making it better rather than screwing it up. Isn't that we all as writers fear? Thanks. XOXO

PJ Hoover said...

I so love the free-writing time more than anything. But when I have good direction on revisions and tons to do, I love that, too. It's when I know something needs to change and I have no idea what that I get annoyed.

Bish Denham said...

Congratulations CJ on getting close to finishing your revisions. Revising is my weak point.

By the way...I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blog award!

Kelly said...

I'm one of the crazy ones too! Revision is my least favorite part of writing (well, after the waiting and rejection :0). Good luck! I'm a Facebook addict, it's an excellent tool for procrastination!

CJ Raymer said...

PJ - I hear ya! I get annoyed at that as well.

Bish - Awwwww, thanks!

Kelly - Yeah, FB and I need to come to an understanding. ;-)


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