Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What makes you stop?

By C. Michelle Jefferies

I really want to tell you about the LDStorymakers conference that I attended this weekend but my brain is still mush and needs to decompress before I can give you the skinny on it. Meanwhile I do have this thought running through my head and I'll expound on it.

Back when I was young and newly maried I took my hand-written novel (the 189 page one finished my junior year) and began to rewrite it. I had matured since then and had plenty of time. I worked, kept house and had only one kid. I also had time to watch TV.

One morning I was watching some morning news program and they interviewed a bestselling author. I of course was interested, they were an author and I wanted to be one. I should have turned the blasted thing off. I would have saved myself some serious pain and many years of doing nothing.

That author said one thing that stopped me in my tracks and my MS about half way done.

They said something to the effect of, "being so completely origional that every sentence and every word must be unique, origional and creative. That you would never publish a book if you couldnt write like that." Well I heard that, and my muse, which is a fickle little thing, just rolled over and died right there on the spot.

"What the heck?" I thought. "I can't write a whole 300 pages with every sentence so origional that no one has ever written it like that before. There's no way, I'm not smart enough to to that," and with that thought, I put my MS away and didn't think of it for years.

Well time went by and I had more kids and I got side-tracked by becoming a breastfeeding counselor and that kept me busy for years. (Not that that is a bad thing I'd like to think I have helped many people through my years of service.) I know my kids apreciate(d) a mom that is at home and involved in their lives.

Years went by before I pulled out my old writing and started to read it just for fun. When I happened upon an old story I got chills and turned to my computer. "I love this story and I think I could finish it now." was the thought. Within a few months I had written about 106 K words and was feeling pretty good about it.

It was at that time I started to really look at the world of writing and realized that, that one author was WRONG.

Say your character has run into a gastly demon, and if they are to live, they must get out of there. Your sentence is going to sound alot like this:

"He ran."

Now putting a little twist on it, you could say:

"He bolted."

OR "He rushed from the area."

OR you could add a little detail to the origional "He ran." by adding something to the effect of "He ran as if the devil himself was after him."

Still no matter the words used, the cadence created, or whether you add metaphors or description, the sentence is still "He ran."

THAT is part of what I didn't understand about writing. And I had no confidence in myself to tell that TV where to go and that frankly I didn't believe it. I wasted years of time I could have spent writing believing that it was too hard for me to do and I wasn't smart enough.

Thank heavens I know better now.

Have you ever run across something that kept you from doing what you should do? What obstacles have stood in your way in achieving something you want to do?

No comments: