Love It Or Hate It

Writers have a love-hate relationship with our stories.

We love the characters we create and we love sharing their stories with the world.

Some of us even love creating entire worlds to share with the world the rest of you live in.

In short, we love writing.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t do it.

And while we’re writing, we are totally in love with the story and the characters and the setting and the plot and subplots and…

And then we finish it and we are so excited about it and want to share it with the world.

But we know better.  We know it has to be edited first and we know that editing as soon as you finish writing is usually a bad idea so we put it away for a while and go back to it a month or more later and reread it.

And we hate it.

The characters are flat or whiny or pointless (or all three) and the plot drags and wanders and ceases to exist and the whole thing is just garbage.

But we loved it once so we can’t just trash it, so we put it away again.

And eventually we pull it out again and read it again and…

Surprise!  It isn’t as bad as we remembered.  (It’s not as good as we’d thought, either, but at least now we think it’s salvageable.)

And then we start to edit.

And rewrite.

And write new stuff to replace the stuff we take out.

And about halfway through we start to hate it again.  And we want to quit because the story sucks and editing sucks and we suck and what’s the point and…

But we keep going because we remember that we loved it and we have hope that we can at least really like it again someday.

And eventually the bright shiny idea we started with and the sparkling pile of excrement we finished with have merged into something that doesn’t reek.

And while maybe it doesn’t sparkle and shine like it did in our memory, it glows.

Because excrement is great fertilizer, so now the little gem is pregnant with possibility.

So we keep polishing.

We edit each page, each line, each word, over and over again in a search for that perfect brilliant shine until we start to worry that in our search for perfection we might be losing the spirit of the story.

So we put it away for a while, then bring it back out, dust it off, maybe tweak it a bit more, and share it with someone else.

Just one or two people.

People who are not us.  People who are not inside our heads and who are looking at the story with virgin eyes and hearts.

People who aren’t already emotionally invested in the story.  People who are not already in love with it and who don’t already hate it.

Beta readers.

We give it to them and we sit on our hands and wait and hope and pray for feedback.

And then we make more changes and eventually we take a deep breath and release our stories into the world, scared to death and loving and hating the whole process.

And then, being masochists, we start all over again on the next story.

Because as much as we hate it, we love it, and we are addicted to it.

I was wrong.

We don’t write because we love it.

We write because we have to.

We have an addiction to feed.

 

 

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