Letting Life Lead
You’ve noticed I’ve neglected the blog this past week. I’ve noticed too.
I’ve been too busy.
Too busy writing!
I said yes. I entered the tenth annual NYC Midnight Short Story writing contest. I cried, “Shut up and take my money! Use your powers of scrutiny to crush me like the insect I am!”
In a random assignment, the universe deemed fit to give me these prompts: Spy, Meditation Retreat, Nobel Prize Winner.
You know that “rule” write what you know?
I can’t remember what we did before Google. Quick searching for “How to Write a Spy Story” and “Top Meditation Retreat Tours” and “Dummies Guide to the Nobel Prize” saved my ass. You can find anything. Anything.
The first round continues to suck up a lot of time, but it forced me to explore avenues of writing I would never have attempted. It pushed me to explore the world of beta readers — the bad-ass angels who will smite all adverbs, slash -ings, bash repetition, and silence passive voice. Your pages will not quickly bleed. They will hemorrhage until clarity reigns supreme! Oh…hmm…They will hemorrhage until clarity dominates! Maybe nix the exclamation? Give me a moment to consult the Thesaurus.
I don’t know where they have been all my life. I worried that they’d all hate my writing. I can handle the red pen. A crushing rejection? Not so much.
I found, though that the people who have helped me the most started with the positive. They wanted to weed out the garbage. Even though your work may look perfect to you, it isn’t. The closer you are, the less you see.
Fresh eyes, though, pick up on all the garbage immediately. In fact, if your beta reader has the same problems you do, they will see it immediately in yours. Like, immediately. Got a plot hole or a convolution that goes no where? Does your Beta Reader cheer when your protagonist dies? Could be an immediate problem.
Sometimes it feels like your baby has been reduced to a wasteland.
But when you are finished trimming the fat, fixing the awkward turns, and turn a one dimensional character into someone your reader loves, fears, or hates — pride will rise from those bones.
writing, traveling, and tap dancing around town.
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