March 21st, 2008
I’m at my dad’s place in Ventura County and we’re talking about Obama vs. Clinton. My dad’s useful insight was, “a broad shouldn’t be in office.”
So, my brain exploded and I have nothing left with which to write a blog post.
So here’s something from a few years ago.
(originally posted February 2006)
I will attend a Writer’s Conference in February. I signed up to have 20 pages of my manuscript read by an agent for feedback.
I have more than 50 pages written (and have since 1999). So, I thought this should be a simple project of revising the first 20 pages and sending it off.
I revised after reading “Writer’s Digest” for tips. They advise stripping adjectives and adverbs. I did this. See, I’ve never revised my creative copy before. Not really, anyway. Maybe a word here and there, but not diligently or even carefully. I believed that if I were a good writer, I’d be one with the first draft. Really. That is, up until last week.
So I’m revising. I’m stripping. Making copy spare. Then I re-read it. It sucks lumpy, enormous, pustule-filled ass. “Robustly,” she said irritably.
Because I like adjectives and adverbs. I write with them.
Once they were stripped, the personality completely drained from my story. It read choppy, awkwardly, crappily.
I suspect as much anyway. I have The Rock read it (he should come with a warning label.). Because I love The Rock, But The Rock is a nuts and bolts kinda guy. He gets down to brass tacks. He wraps around the axle. So one week ago we go word by word by word of my manuscript and he rips it a new one. I grow irritated, but reluctantly come to realize: he’s right. (Does he have to be good at everything throwing my ineptitude into stark contrast to his proficiency at life?)
I’m at a loss. What now? I can’t use my original copy. It does need revision. But I did that. And the revision made it worse. I can’t write. Why am I writing? I have no talent. No discernible skills. My husband is good at most things. He throws balls well, swings bats skillfully, excels at fatherhood, manages employees deftly and makes good grilled cheese. What do I do? Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! I always burn grilled cheese. ALWAYS!
I go within. I decide to try again. I trust my voice. I jump into the void. I pick up the pen and start writing. I re-write much of the story. Throw in a new character. Ignore the “Writer’s Digest.”
And now I see: this is what they are talking about! Writers who say the act of writing is the most horrible, beautiful thing they do. I’m a coin. One side is elation at writing one good sentence. The other side despair at bad transitions. The coin flips over and over, sometimes heads, sometimes tails. I live within the turning.
And I like it.
P.S. The agent liked it. She asked me to send her the full manuscript. Do you think I ever did that?
Please feel free to virtually kick my ass.