Sunday, March 13, 2011

Doubt:Writing's Companion.

I don't know if this is true of other writers -- I've met some pretty cocksure ones -- but I constantly question my choices when I write.

Of course, there is the ever present doubt about the quality of writing.

But the more I write, the more I realized that isn't the only question. I make stylistic choices, narrative choices. Perhaps no one will want to read what I'm writing because it doesn't match the present zeitgeist.

This is a huge problem with publishers, as far as I'm concerned. I've known writers whose changed what they were naturally good at to chase the current market. For instance, I knew a natural gothic writer who bent her style to try to fit the current romance market, including explicit sex scenes and such that she didn't feel comfortable doing.

So publishing online is going to avoid that bottleneck. It may be that no one will read what I put out there, but at least I have a chance for find out. The history of writing is full of examples of people breaking barriers...

Anyway, as I've said, I really like Sometimes A Dragon. It's of a piece -- it's what I set out to do.

But, in thinking about it, I'm not sure it fits any other style I'm currently seeing. It's fantasy, with fairy tale elements; a love story, probably young adult. (Well, actually that sounds like lots of currently read books -- so I suppose I must be talking about the MIX of those elements that seems different.)

So there is the doubt that it doesn't quite fit the expected stylistic and narrative choices.

Oh, well. I like it, and at this point in my life, that's probably the most important thing.

I totally didn't expect to read the whole book in one sitting. That's a really good sign, because usually I can't read my own writing at all. I just see all the things wrong with it.

Some of it must be that enough time has passed, that I'd forgotten most everything. But even then, if I had started to run into too much writing that I considered -- bad or amateurish, I wouldn't have kept reading.

Anyway, once I started reading at page 50, I kept going all the way through.

It's good. At least to me. I don't know how other people may feel. I don't know if it will meet their expectations. But it more than met my expectations, and I'm very thankful for the experience, whatever else happens.

Simple fixes are so rare.

I have to thank Jared for lighting a fire under my butt, and making me pull the manuscript out and looking at it will fresh eyes -- and seeing that the first 50 pages needed to be set aside.

Other than that, I found a couple of continuity glitches, easily fixed. I'm not completely consistent in my capitalization of proper nouns. Silent Cathedral or silent cathedral, Purple Lady or purple lady.

But not much else. The tone usually seems right, which is the hardest thing to accomplish.

The simple love story between Tenly and Toller and all the cute things that happen between them may go on a little long, but....I think it should go on long. The darkness that comes later is in contrast to that.

The darkness that comes later, and some of the more elaborate language, feels perfectly fine after we've gotten to know the characters. It was hitting the reader with that tone and style right off the bat that didn't work.

I use what Ursula LeGuin calls "high" language, but it fits and doesn't seem overwhelming to me. Much talk of love, but I don't think it's too sappy. Well, maybe a little sappy, but it seems appropriate.

Having read so many young adult novels lately, it occurred to me that the style is most similar to that. I've often told Linda she should turn her stories into young adult because I think she has a knack -- and since she really influenced the style of this book at the beginning, then it makes sense that's how it would turn out.

1 comment:

H. Bruce Miller said...

Vampires -- you gotta throw in some vampires. Or zombies. Or zombies AND vampires. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Seriously, though: Write to satisfy yourself, not to please a (perhaps imaginary) "market." Otherwise it will not ring true.

And best of luck with this venture.