Friday, May 3, 2013

Making the Write Decisions

Writing fiction, like life, is in the choices we make. We want to make the "right" decisions and hopefully things will play out in a manner we find pleasing and comfortable, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes we make the "wrong" decisions, but we end up with a better story. Making the decisions is the first step.

If you've been reading this for any amount of time, you'll know I've been working on a novel. I finished the first draft a few years ago now, and I've been working on revising and editing ever since. I've done draft after draft. Cutting characters. Adding characters. Changing timelines. Upping the stakes. More description; less description. More dialogue; less dialogue. I've had beta readers read it. I've solicited feedback and got it. I've done more revising.  I've done everything except finish the damned thing. Why? Because a voice inside my head tells me it's not perfect.

What if I publish it and not everyone loves it?  What if it doesn't become a runaway best seller and outsell The Fifty Shades of Grey, or Harry Potter?  What if a reviewer says, "it's okay for a first novel."  These are all things I'm very likely going to have to face. The odds are not in my favor that I will outsell those hits. Odds are a reviewer won't think it's the next great american novel, but maybe someone will.

The point is, as some of my non-writer friends have pointed out, I'll never know if I don't put it out there. Flaws and all.

I can sit here and continue editing it until I'm dead. There will always be another way of telling the story.  Another author, or even me in three months, will always have an idea how this scene could have gone, or that character should have been. The story will continue changing as the writer's life changes, day by day.  At some point we (I) have to stop procrastinating in the name of perfection, and let it go.

There's always a chance the second novel will be the new great american novel.  I'll never know until I stop tinkering with the first.

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