Friday, July 18, 2014

Evolution Of A Writer - Part two

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit  451 is one of my favorite books. It's a dystopian tale where books are banned and firefighters burn books instead of put out fires. It is a complex, socially profound piece of work. It was written during the McCarthy Era when Americans were questioned and accused of being communists. It was a terrible time in our history. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Where am I going with this? Be true to yourself in your creations.

Mr. Bradbury wrote a story that was harsh, sad, and really didn't have a "happily ever after" ending and it's okay. It was the right ending.  Fat Farm is another dystopian tale that doesn't have a "happily ever after" ending, but it has the right ending for that story.  Am I comparing my work to Ray Bradbury's? Certainly not.  So what does this have to do with my evolution? Write what is right.

I learned a very important lesson on my journey to become a good writer. Don't be afraid of your story. My current project, The Insignificant Amy Dodd, is a hard story to write. I want it to be good. Actually, I want it to be extraordinary. I know what my expectations of the story are, but can I reach them? Did I set the bar to high? I belong to a wonderful critique/writing group. We get together every Saturday to hone our craft, and on Tuesdays to critique our projects. The critiques of my work have been extremely helpful and thought provoking, and will help this story be the best it can be. So, what have I learned from my wonderful group of friends?
  1. Don't protect your characters. Let them live in your story. My current project involves a character who is being bullied. My friends brought to my attention that I might be protecting her. I thought, really? But once I thought about it, I was. I don't want her to get hurt, but this is a redemption story and she has to rise above the pain. I see some major rewrites in my future, but it will make the story so much better.
  2. Give yourself permission to write. I thought I was doing that, but I realized maybe not. I have two children and am a stay-at-home mom. I have a lot on my plate. I grab time to write instead of taking the time to write.I'm learning to tune out my children and just write. My children are 10 and 11, so they don't have to be micromanaged at this point. And school starts in two weeks. Yay!
  3. It's okay to write a crappy first draft. This is probably the most important lesson. I want my story to be perfect the first go-around. It's not and I'm going to have to face that. I'm a perfectionists in many areas of my life. (I wish housekeeping was on of them.) I want to be perfect the first time I try anything, It has taken me a long time to realize it's not going to happen, but it is something I struggle with every day. So, I will write my crappy first draft, have my friends critique it, and make it a great story.
Writing is hard. The work that goes into your creation, the time, the development of characters, the world building is nerve wracking and wonderful. We get to go on any adventure we want. We learn from our characters and maybe become someone better. Amy is teaching me a lot about myself that I'm not sure I want to know, but it is all good. And that is what matters.

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  1. Hi Lisa, I liked the topic you brought up when you said, "Give yourself permission to write." I imagine that giving yourself permission to write means a lot of different things to different people – there's a topic to explore. I also liked your touchstone quotation from Robert Frost about the two paths. My father was always quoting from Robert Frost as he was one of his favorite poets. If you'd like to read the short tribute to a man who liked to stand on his head, quote from Shakespeare and extolled the virtues of pulling your hair— free book —please get your free copy and enjoy:

    Does lead you back to that topic of giving yourself permission to write, interestingly...

    Be well, Phil

    PS your Preview button did a me 'gotcha' number on me twice until I learned I better put my message up on my Clipboard ;)

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I have downloaded the book and will be reading it. :-)