Ah, starting over

The title of this post is slightly misleading. But this past weekend, Donnie reinstalled Windows XP on our poor little hard drive. We didn’t lose any of our files (which wouldn’t have been a problem since we had them all backed up on our brand-new file backer-upper) with the reinstall, but now they’re just located deep within other folders. We had to reinstall Microsoft Office, and we fortunately still had a disk of it. But all other software and applications have to be reinstalled, which is annoying and makes the computer not feel like our old one. Hence the whole “starting over.”

My revision of “Surrogate” is going well. I forced myself to write in a role-playing scene between the protagonist and the old man she takes care of. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything to those of you who read this, but needless to say, writing in this scene definitely injected drama into the climax. And I hate injecting drama in my stories. Or at least, I’m afraid of drama because it has to be done well. The actions have to work on their own but the reader still needs some access to the character’s thoughts, otherwise, the actions often feel meaningless. So I’ve tried to create a balance of thought and not, but it’s challenging. I have to be subtle but not confusing; explicit but not heavy-handed.

The more I write, the more I appreciate good writing. It’s taken me a long time (until today?) to really realize that writers don’t just pop out amazing stories. They struggle over them and revise and cry and moan and revise some more. And what makes the stories so amazing is that the authors somehow find the perfect balance. It’s just so hard to know when you’ve reached that balance. But I remember someone once telling me, maybe Marjorie, maybe Jilly Patterson, that at some point you just have to walk away from the story and let it be.

(see “Reading Present” for what amazing stories–and novels–I’m reading now.)

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