Monday, September 12, 2011

Dear Writers ... I don't know why I don't like it, but I don't

The other day I was listening to a song being performed on TV and I thought, "This song ... isn't good."

Now, I'm no music expert, but even untrained as I am I could tell the dang thing dragged ... and was flat. As soon as I thought that, I realized that the guy singing and playing was on TV. TV! Sure, it wasn't a network show. It was local, but somebody, somewhere thought that song was good enough to play on TV. And I was kind of stunned. I wondered if he was popular enough that no one had had the nerve to tell him the song sucked. Then I wondered if he was so new and so innocent that everyone around him told him his song was wonderful, when they probably should have been telling him to go back to the drawing board.

Or maybe the people who heard him sing and play were simply blown away by the fact that he'd written a whole song.

Does any of that sound familiar? LOL

I just got what I considered "light" revisions from my editor. But when I got into the book I saw too many things I didn't like, things that might have squeaked through...or maybe things she didn't want to tell me about because so many other things about the book were good. I missed them the first time around because I was so focused on certain aspects of the book that others just fell under my radar.

Still, my editor hadn't asked me to change those things...did I really want to mess around and take another week to fix a book that should have only taken a few days?

I didn't...I'm not really lazy, but I do have my limits. Still, I have a motto. Good enough isn't good enough and since I was revising anyway, I turned the darned thing inside out.

I know it sort of goes against human nature to have our faults pointed out to us, but, honestly, just think of that kid on TV, singing the flat song. Nobody did him any favors by letting him go on TV with that song. I sincerely doubt we'll ever hear from him again. He had his 15 minutes of fame and he blew them.

So don't resist editing, revision, critique group comments. Don't get so mired down in them that you stall. But read them with an open mind. Read your book with an open mind! Don't fluff over the things that are wrong or flat. Fix them.

I always believed the change in my books from good to really good (I somehow can't call my own books great! LOL) came when I one day looked at a scene that was falling flat and thought, Oh, heck this gets the plot point/journey step in. It's good enough! ... And then I paused and wondered...What if it isn't? What if good enough isn't good enough? And from that day forward my books were no longer at the mercy of my moods or the muse. I took care to create wonderful stories. I took care with my scenes. I took care with every word.

Next year I'll write my 50th book. I think that change speaks for itself.


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