Contact Me

Email me
"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Friday, June 26, 2009

What I Learned From First Manuscript Crit - Part VI

Fact 9: There’s No Shortcut To Writing A Good Quality Novel. So Suck It Up & Deal With It

We writers want to write like The Six Million Dollar Man.



Faster. (Insert the cool Six Million Dollar Man music here).

No matter how many times we’re told, we simply do not want to accept the fact that there is no quick method, no short cut to crafting a great novel, historical or otherwise. Admit it – you’re like me. You RUN to the bookstore when you see a title like “Write Your Novel In 30 Days!” (I don’t think that’s an actual title but there are titles similar to it) and others. And yes I know, there probably are a few people who can write a novel in 30 days. In fact, at the 2008 Western Writers of America convention, I met a guy who writes a new western novel every THREE WEEKS!!!! (I still shake my head in amaze when I think of it). But I and many others are not among those elite ranks.

Do you know how many minutes of angst I’ve spent over the last four years because I couldn’t write any faster?


Neither do I.

But it was a TON! I’m probably better off not knowing how many because I would probably grind my teeth at all the time I wasted worrying myself over it.

Yes, I hope my second novel won’t take this many years. That’s why I’m analyzing how it’s gone so far. (Well, that and the fact that I’m an over-analyzing geek by nature). But no matter what I learn, it’s only going to speed things up so much. I’m just a mere mortal with a demanding day job and plenty of other responsibilities. There’s no point in killing myself over it. It goes back to one of my earlier points – keep yourself on a steady time table, but enjoy the journey. It’s beautiful.

Fact 10: I Have To Accept My Skill Level For Where It Is At This Point In Time

I know what you’re thinking.

Well duh!

But for us overachievers, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. This is my first novel. But I want it to be written as though it were my 50th. Like it came from the keyboard of a vastly experienced, multi-published writer.

Ain’t gonna happen. Yep. I’m going to give it my level best. Pore over it several times. But in the end, it’s only going to be as good as where I am, skill level, at this precise point in time.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will look at this manuscript years down the road and see technical aspects or story ideas that would’ve made it much better – if only I’d thought of it at the time.

But I can’t let desire for perfection keep me from ever sending my work out. At some point I have to say, okay. This is as good as you can make it now. Go forward!

We’ll wrap things up tomorrow.

No comments: