February 27, 2003

There has been a lot of conversation on the OWW lists about epiphanies lately. Some of the posts, specifically around sentence level construction, have been extremely helpful. It was all the same stuff I'd heard before, but something clicked this time (maybe it was the specific examples that did it) and suddenly I could see, at least some of them, in my story.

So I've hacked apart Lamenita. It went through one edit before it was posted to the workshop. I thought it was a pretty in-depth edit and that it was close to done. The crits pointed out some major holes in the piece, which I agreed with, so last night I finished up an almost two week process of tearing it apart and putting it back together.

Surprisingly, it looks an awful lot like it used to. Why does that surprise me? You should *see* the amount of pen on my editing paper. Almost nothing went untouched. There were a few paragraphs that I really liked, but the rest of it got played with. And changed.

I finished the process last night, and then today, over lunch break, I typed the changes into Word, saved it as version 1.1, and accepted those changes to merge them into the document.

Looking at it, and seeing how much the same it was, both relieved me and said something's wrong. So I walked away for a moment, puzzling over what was wrong in the back of my mind.

Then it hit me.

I have been told that I write well. I, personally, believe (well, sometimes) that I write well. But those are readers telling me that. I can put together a story that entertains and slides along easiliy and has characters that people like to read about. So readers think I can write.

The epiphany was that writers & editors don't. I write stories. I write things for fun. But my craft... my knowledge of it... is lacking. Readers think I can write. Writers & editors don't necessarily.

I can't say it to myself enough right now. I'm not trying to generalize, or kick myself, or anything like that. It was really just such a simplistic realization that I know I must've known it before and just refused to see it.

It goes along with the "writing is work" thing that hit me last week (was that when it was?). I can write. But in order to write really WELL I need to work at it, and then the words work and do something more than they did before.

Just little things. Like removing the felts. *laughs* I said to myself before, I don't do that. Then there it was, staring at me. Oh hells yes I did. And yeah, the entire feel of the sentence changed when I fixed it.

It'd be cool if I could get my subconscious to buy into this whole craft thing. Until then, it'll continue to be work.

Posted by Deb Atwood at February 27, 2003 12:25 PM | TrackBack

That really makes sense! I struggle with the same thing. I write for fun and don't really work at what I do. Perhaps I should take note of this in my own writing.

Posted by: Briethe on May 29, 2003 06:28 PM
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