Sunday, December 10, 2006

Getting it Right the First Time

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

I finished off another short story and sent a query for it into The Wild Rose Press. They're getting to be quite a busy place, which is encouraging! It also means that the competition will be stiffer, but the stories will all be stronger for it.

Yesterday, DD and DH were off in the woods helping the rest of the family hunt and kill a Christmas tree. There I was, all alone, the entire day stretched before me and all I wanted to do was write.

And I was empty.

How frustrating is that? Seriously. I felt like I'd wasted an entire day.

Then I remembered that Charity was using Donald Maass's "Writing the Breakout Novel" book to help brainstorm a new novel she has in the works. I thought, "Yunno, the workbook was so cool, maybe I should go through the actual book again with my mystery." The mystery I plotted and began writing several months ago has been tugging at me lately, but I just wasn't ready to work out the kinks.

I think I am now. I really think that this story could be a winner. I like the characters, though they're all a challenge. I like the story, although it's very emotional in some places and makes me feel like I've been through the wringer.

Donald Maass is a difficult teacher. He makes you think hard, work hard and he challenges you in ways you can't imagine. I can't always do everything he asks... my brain doesn't work that way. But, I do try everything he asks and beat my head against it until I either figure it out or break my skull trying.

I hope this will help the first draft of the book to be stronger. I absolutely despise editing, I have a difficult time picturing anything different from the way it was originally written, and so must strive to get the plot right the first time. Ideally, I'd like to use editing to make the writing stronger and richer and to fix all the stupid typos and grammatical mistakes. Ideally, I'd like the plot to be justy right the first time through. Major changes? I can't seem to wrap my brain around them, and because of that, more often than not the book gets tossed aside, never to see the light of day again.

Since that makes me sad, I'm going to try Maass before I write the book and see if it helps.

I hope it helps.

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