Sunday, August 9, 2015

Upon Further Review

I think there are times when anyone who's a writer doubts their ability.  For me, that happens a great deal during the writing process itself.  While writing several of my now completed books, I've thought, "Geez, this is complete garbage.  Why am I even writing this?  When people read this mess, they're going to revoke my right to use a pen."  In fact, only twice - Salvation Day and Wrongful Death - have I been satisfied with what I wrote during the writing process, and it took me half my novel to think that way about Wrongful Death.  Through a plethora of other novels, I've always thought it was crap.

Then a funny thing happens - I put the book away for a while and come back to it a few months later with new eyes.  And you know what?  I find myself pleasantly surprised every time.  This is not to say that I've discovered that I'm the next Charles Dickens or JK Rowling, but the work I was so down about isn't as bad as I thought.  Sure, some of it could use some cleaning, but that's minor compared to the complete scrapping of a project I thought it would be.

Why do I bring this up now?  Because I'm going through similar issues with Fight Or Flight.  I'll be humming right along and think, "This is so trite.  It's so cliché.  No one is going to read beyond the first few pages."  I'll then wonder what I could do to make the story better, and the answer is, "Nothing at the present."  I want so badly to have the idea flourish, but I don't want to write a C-level book, yet I don't know how to fix it.  For now.

I rediscovered the truth of second looks when I went back into Homecoming, Fight or Flight's sequel, to make sure I remained consistent with that universe.  I wasn't happy with Homecoming when I first finished it, and I'd rarely looked at it since.  Then, upon further review, I found I actually liked it.  A lot.

I wonder how common a trait this is with writers.  Are we all so critical in the moment, only to find there's more to it when we've taken a break?  Or am I the only one?  Either way, it has given me a new outlook on my writing, as well as a new conscious step in the process - always put it away and come back later.  Hopefully, like me, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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