Friday April 6, 2018 ~ The Letter E
This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.
I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon. And yes, I’m working on a novel.
Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.
The Letter F
I enjoyed success in the world of nonfiction. I get a kick out of researching and then taking all that information and organizing it into something informs, or supports an argument, or entertains, or teaches. Nonfiction is organized and linear and and begins with a definite purpose. I’ll always have a soft spot for nonfiction, I guess it goes hand in hand with my passion for helping others learn. Nonfiction is fun.
Fiction is fuzzy. The purpose of fiction? Well, I’d say it’s to get those stories bouncing around in my skull out into the fresh air. To find the words that will create a reasonable facsimile of that story in, hopefully, the heads of a bunch of readers. And to make that story compelling enough to entertain those readers, who I’ve never met. And to get them to like my words enough to actually spend money to get more of them.
Who wouldn’t find that at least a little intimdating?
Fiction is fuzzy, and that makes it a challenge. Gauntlet thrown – I like challenges.
And fiction is fun, too.
Guess what? Sometimes the words I lay down don’t convey to others what I imagine in my head. Occasionally I get my story bogged down with too much description. Or I assume that anyone reading my work will of course get a possibly obscure reference. Now and then, my story doesn’t make sense to anyone but me. Or the middle lags. Or my characters annoy rather than engage.
And here’s the thing – I am absolutely oblivious to those shortcomings. Because I have the advantage of knowing what’s in my head. Those poor readers don’t stand a chance.
Feedback from someone who isn’t privy to the stuff whirling around inside my brain is priceless. I seek guidance from those who know the craft, put on my thicker skin, and follow their advice. My work is better for it. From this I take away two things. First, better to share the final product with mom, because she may not be able to see the flaws. And, if the feedback doesn’t offer something constructive, it may not be all that helpful. I don’t need to invite bashers to my critique party – they’ll just wreak havoc with my self confidence.
Feedback makes me a better writer, and I bet it will help you, too
A novel is a really huge bunch of words! A typical fantasy or romance has 60,000 to 80,000 words! My upmarket humorous women’s novel will likely finish at about 100,000 words. That’s something like 200 of these blog posts!
But I need to finish things to feel productive. So I give myself smaller goals – maybe a daily word count, or a chapter to finish. Then I have a box to check at the end of the day. Or I write a poem or a short story. Holding a finished piece of work in my hands give me a feeling of accomplishment. Small bites, that’s what keeps me going. I hope it works for you too.
Tomorrow, the letter G …