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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What I Learned From First Manuscript Crit - Part IV

Fact 5: Technical Aspects Of Writing Are My Weakness

No matter how long I live and write, I can’t seem to acquire a fondness for the intentional, technical aspects of writing. When I hear someone say gerund or adverb, my eyes instantly glaze over. I can’t help it. It’s just automatic reaction. I’d rather get clunked in the head then look for adverbs or floating body parts. But you know what? There’s a term for this malady.

Lazy writing.


Not good.

Now I don’t intentionally set out to be lazy (though there’s a certain amount of writing laziness inherent in all of us) but I’m usually so busy working out aspects of story, I don’t have time or desire to think in technical terms.

I can’t afford to get glazed over on these details. Sure, I’d like to get to the point where I deal with these aspects of writing naturally, not intentionally. But in order to handle them smoothly and in a natural, automatic manner, I have to first learn the rules associated with these little pains in the neck.

So whether I like it or not, I’m going to have to put my nose to the grindstone and pay special attention over the next couple of months to learning the ins and outs of these technical ditties. After all, why would I want to finally get my manuscript in an editor’s hands, only to have them reject it because I was too busy glazing over instead of firing up and fixing?

Fact 6: Write The Story Of Your Heart - Don’t Cave To Pressure (Real Or Perceived)

Writing good fiction is writing good fiction. The ABA and CBA are the same there. However, writing for CBA comes with it’s own special challenges. Writing from a Christian worldview when we ourselves are fallen but forgiven. And that means writing with those accepted standards in mind and not getting too carried away.

Now please, I am NOT referring to the oft-overused term “edgy” fiction that is often bandied about in the CBA market (I'll post a future rant on that subject). I am referring to the fact that there are different reader expectations in different CBA markets. Some folks want a kinder, gentler read. Some folks want more action – perhaps more of a chance for their heart to race at some high stakes (suspense fiction, for example – dead bodies, etc).

This affected the writing of my novel without my realizing it until I received my crits. Since most of what I’d read in the CBA market didn’t have the high-action stakes I’m used to, unconsciously I toned down those aspects of my own novel.

In other words, I wrote the whole thing with reserve.


A writer’s experience should be just the opposite. You should let your story pour out of your heart and soul and flow on to the paper naturally. I believe I did that in parts of my book, but not with reckless abandon throughout.

I mean for cryin’ out loud (to quote Jack O’Neill), I can always change it later if it doesn’t fit. That’s what rewrites are for!

I will definitely remember this for future novels. Write the story of my heart – without reserve, and then worry about revision later. Who knows, I may find I have to rewrite less that way.

Tomorrow will tackle items 7 and 8.

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