Thursday, May 28, 2015

Writing Quotes

There is something incredibly freeing for me to say that I'm going to stop. To give myself permission to fail. In an odd way, it pushes me forward. After my last post, I had an idea about how to connect my story, so I did a major edit tonight. With every draft, I end up with less and less words, but I like the story better.

The setting, secondary character arcs, and action sequences all need work, but it's there. I can see it. I now have 23,000 words, so my story is far from done. But I'm a better writer than I was 50,000 words ago, and I hope to continue improving.

After I cut out scene after scene, I wanted a treat, so I hopped on Advice to Writers for some quotes. I love quotes.This is what resonated with me tonight:

"The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was, “Rewrite it!” A lot of editors said that. They were all right. Writing is really rewriting--making the story better, clearer, truer." Robert Lipsyte

"I don't like to push forward with a story or novel unless it seems to me that the prose is strong enough to be permanent, even though I know very well that once the work is finished I will want to rewrite it. The pleasure is the rewriting. The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written. This is a koan-like statement, and I don't mean to sound needlessly obscure or mysterious, but it’s simply true. The completion of any work automatically necessitates its revisioning." Joyce Carol Oates

The Rewrite - this is definitely where I'm at right now. I'm trying to get my story down to just the good parts. One big thing I did tonight was combine some key characters to simplify my story.

"Best advice on writing I’ve ever received: Finish." Peter Mayle

Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. So true.

"The best advice on writing I’ve ever received was given to me, like so much else, by Hubert Selby, Jr.: to learn and to know that writing is not an act of the self, except perhaps as exorcism; that, in writing what is worth being written, one serves, as vessel and voice, a power greater than vessel and voice." Nick Tosches

I read somewhere else that we should write about what haunts us. That's what caught me in this quote. I've been thinking a lot lately about the tragedies that are our fault, and how hard it is to live with them afterwards. I lost track of a friend's toddler for a moment in a parking lot, caught up in my own thoughts, and he almost got hit by a car. Like screaming breaks and honking horns. Only by the grace of God am I here, writing this tonight. Things could have been so very different. There are things that can't be undone, and that haunts me.

"7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine." Margaret Atwood's 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

Don't whine. Ha ha. Maybe I should rethink this blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I'm hoping to start a small side business, so I've put my writing on hold for awhile. Part of it is less time and focusing on my family's needs, but I'm also wondering if I can actually write readable fiction. The last fiction stories I wrote were in 6th grade. It's been essays ever since. I don't have a grasp on the mechanics of fiction.

Okay, and here's the straight up truth: I feel like the story keeps trying to turn into a love story. Is there such a thing as romantic scifi? I wanted it to be more about a girl accepting herself for who she is. I was aiming for a story about friends, something with just the "good parts."

There are things I want to add to my story, but doubts keep me busy doing everything but writing. Maybe I shouldn't write it in first person present. Maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe the story I want to write is boring. The more I follow writing advice, the less I seem to be writing.

How to find my way? I don't know. And I don't know what happens to my characters next. So I'm stalled.

I'm going to sleep on it, let my subconscious work on it for a few hours. Or days. But not weeks, because I'm afraid that if I pause for too long, I'll let my doubts win and I'll never start again.

I don't want to be the person who almost wrote a book.