Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Edge of the precipice

I stand on the edge of a precipice contemplating my fate if I should leap into the wild blue. Will I soar like the red-tailed hawk over the canyon, or will I shatter on the jagged boulders below? The opportunities of success are great. The consequences of failure equally great.

All this is a fancy way of saying I fear the next step.

I got the critiques back from two of my critique partners.

Both had excellent ideas, saw the weaknesses in the plot and characterization I was too close to see, and in spite of my having read the goofy ms three times myself, each managed to pick out at least a half a dozen different typos. (smacking forehead with palm)

I breezed through most of the edits, fixing the typos, taking out the redundancies, the "telling" and not "showing" passages, and even managed to write a few clarifying, additional scenes that boosted the word count up to over 77K. All very good things.

Then the book came. The "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook." I read Donald Maass' book "Writing the Breakout Novel" back in late March. It was powerful then. I feel it helped me step up the stakes in the current ms. But I sent it back to the library when the due date rolled around. This past week I ordered a copy for myself and the accompanying workbook. I figured it would help me with the next novel, since this one is almost done, right?

That all depends. I've read the first few chapters of the workbook, and I know, if I put my mind to it, I could improve this current ms. I know I could deepen the characters, raise the stakes higher, show more internal conflict, make the plot more complex. Or can I?

The precipice, the canyon that yawns before me, is my own fears and feelings of inadequacy. What if, in spite of knowing what needs to be done, knowing the possibilities if I apply the techniques in the workbook, I can't make it happen?

My head tells me to slow down, to really use the workbook as a springboard to elevate my writing and this current ms to another level.

My heart quails at the thought.


  1. Donna Alice7:51 PM

    Exactly! Can we or can't we? Is giving up an option?? Donna

  2. Spread your wings and soar!