Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Kind of Dog Do I Have?

Well, none, because I'm not a dog person.

But that's not the point, obviously, or it would be both a very short and very non-writing-related post!

So currently my beta reader is my boyfriend, after my other beta readers flaked out and he kept insisting he wanted to read some of my writing. I like letting him read it, but I also know it's not really what I need. Because, you know, even though I make him swear to be honest, at the end of the day he still wants to sleep with me. But he still has some good insights, and he isn't completely sugarcoating it.

The other day he was reading a book I recommended to him (The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch) and he pointed out a paragraph in the scene he was reading. "I'm glad you don't do stuff like this." (I'm a better writer than Scott Lynch! Well maybe not...) What he was referring to was a descriptive paragraph that had nothing to do with the scene. My writing tends to be very action-oriented--my polite way of saying that I hate writing description and have entirely too little of it. So then my boyfriend pointed out to me another paragraph in the scene where the description is integrated into what is actually happening. "I like that," he told me. "And you do that really, really well. But you don't do it enough."

And he's right. Adding description is one of the biggest things I try to do on re-writes, and it's hard. It would be a lot easier to go back and cut unnecessary crap out than try and shoehorn in more. I know my writing is too lean--this WIP is sitting right at about 80k words--and it's frustrating as hell.

So what my boyfriend told me is that some books are like Great Danes. Huge and thick and full of everything. And that maybe my book is a poodle--and no matter how much I feed it, it's never going to be a Great Dane or a German Shepherd.

That shook me pretty deeply. This WIP is the best thing I've got, and now I'm facing the idea that I can mess around with it forever but it will never be good enough. That I need to start over, at 0 words, with another idea. That terrifies me.

I'm not giving up on this WIP. I'm through 12 chapters of my rewrite and going to start shopping it again when I'm finished. But now I'm excited to start something new and see how much better I can do this time around. After all, I did first start working on this WIP when I was 16. Hopefully by now I've got something bigger than a poodle trying to get out.

No comments:

Post a Comment