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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hard Parts and Easy Parts

I just finished an intense revision a few hours ago.

And I am nervous.

There is nothing like feeling like you "nailed it" to make you worry that perhaps you hadn't a clue after all.

Because the truth is, as an author, I am only bringing fifty percent (okay, fifty-five percent) of the meaning to the reading experience.  The other half comes from the reader.  The other half is what they bring to the reading experience, which is why some people like some books and other people hate them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am all about diversity in reading choices.  I love reading what I want to read. Other people don't have to read the same stuff as me. It's all good. But, and here is the BIG BUT, when you give your heart to something that you've written, you kind of really want people to "get it." (Even if they don't love it.  Maybe they could at least understand it, right?)

Honestly, I used to not care.

No, that is not true.  I have always cared if readers were connecting with my stories.  It used to be easier to know, that's all.  When I was writing books of less than 1,000 words and reading them aloud to kids, it was pretty easy to tell if there was a connection or not.  I would know QUICKLY if I had, indeed, "nailed" something.

But now I write longer things (okay, not always....but I cannot say anything about that, yet) and it takes TIME for readers to read it, and time for them to respond.  It is no longer the microwave method--Beep! The child is laughing at the funny part--of immediate feedback.

Now I am in the crock-pot of "wait", where I have to simmer and stew, wondering if my words will be understood...or not.

The waiting does not seem to get easier.

What does get easier is the actual work.  Revising, the unweaving, reweaving, snipping away, stitching together again of a story actually DOES get easier. The more you do it, the more faith you have that it CAN be done.  (Of course, the double-edged sword of this is that you ALSO know how much time and effort are involved.  Not for the faint of heart.)

So, I think I am going to paint my toenails while I wait.  I am thinking of a very pale blue shade, even though it will probably make my toes look frost-bitten. Or zombie-esque.  Oh well.

And I just finished this:

A cool, re-imagining of Les Mis by Marie Lu.
VERY well done.

Cannot wait to start this one! 

Heard many good things about this--looks like
I found my road-trip read!
So, it's not like I am going to be sitting here doing nothing while I wait.  I've got stuff to read.

Oh, yeah...and I've got another revision to tackle. Yikes!

So, what's got you simmering and stewing this summer?



Natalie said...

I always struggle with deciding WHAT to do next. At the half-way point, I want to abandon the story for another idea I've been flirting with. And while I can dabble in other things ... it just becomes hard to see something through. You know the whack-a-mole game at Chuckee Cheese? That's how I am with self doubt. I have to constantly, constantly thump it when I'm writing.

I have a hard time imagining anything you write not coming out fantastically beautiful. But it's encouraging to know you worry too :) (And I LOVED Three Times Lucky! Mo Lebeau is a hoot!)

Julie Dao said...

Makes perfect sense to me! When you put so much of yourself in a book, you want people to understand and appreciate it. It's so hard, how subjective all of it is. But the only thing you can control is the story you write, and if you're putting your best in and it makes you happy, that's what counts! Those are some great summer reads... I've read LEGEND and liked it a lot, and I've been meaning to get that new book by Neil Gaiman! Let us know how you like it!

Laura Marcella said...

I have those books on my to-read list, too!

Congrats on finishing your revision. I'm sure it's just as wonderful as you think it is!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines