Literary Intentions 
 
Even at my skinniest, I hated trying on jeans (swimsuit shopping is a completely different beast that requires meds for me to address, so we’ll just go with jeans).

There’s something ominous about slipping into a dressing room, staring into a carnival mirror, and seeing all my imperfections nagging back at me. Guilt, shame, regrets all roll through my mind. But no matter how much I beat myself up and curse that last donut, I can’t change the fact that until I recognize my insecurities and accept them, I’ll always be the fat girl in skinny jeans.

I could say the same thing about writing.

Some people jump into writing with the idea that they’ll be the next latest and greatest author and their book will outsell even Stephen King. I hate to break it to those folks, but it’s not gonna happen. (Unless their name rhymes with Shmephenie Shmeyer) Becoming a writer—a novelist—is not for the weak. It is brutal.

The most important thing a writer can do as they hone their craft is to develop a thick skin—armor is more like it. Some think they can write their story, spell check it, and then wah-lah it’s ready for publication, but that is far from the case. Most writing is rewriting or editing, going back through the 'script, tightening up loose ends, and cleaning up clumsy sentences and plotting issues.

My carnival mirror I use for writing comes in the form of a critique group. If you are a writer and don’t have one, I think you should find one asap. Beta readers are a great help, but unless your readers are writers or read anything they can get their hands on, chances are they won’t pick up on the things you need to perfect your ’script. The group also helps a writer deal with criticism—the good, the bad, and the ‘what the $%*#?’

There is nothing like sending a chapter to a critique member and getting it back littered with marks or highlighted with rainbow colors. It is overwhelming and disheartening . . . for about ten minutes. After the shock wears off and the suggestions evaluated, excitement rolls in and the real writing begins. Things start to click and ideas flow—at least in theory.

My critique group has the tough, the tougher, and toughest of members. I can rely on each person to find something wrong and steer me in the right direction. Do I follow every suggestion? Nope, because I have to stay true to my voice and my vision. Tie goes to the writer. In turn, they support and rally behind me as I take on the next step—submitting to agents.

Agents are overwhelmed with query letters and submissions—drowning in them. A person can’t rely on an agent or an editor to look at a manuscript and see its potential through all the grammar issues and plot holes; they want perfection.

According to Noah Lukeman in The First Five Pages:

“Agents and editors don’t read manuscripts to enjoy them; they read solely with the goal of getting through the pile, solely with an eye to dismiss a manuscript—and believe me, they’ll look for any reason they can, down to the last letter.”

Why am I in this business again? Thankfully, I have a few friends who are standing outside the dressing room waiting for me to parade around in my new jeans. And when I emerge looking like a fool, they are the first to suggest a different size. Although it isn’t easy accepting a failure, I know that with a little hard work and one less donut, I may just be able to fit in the skinny jeans next time.

 


01/26/2012 2:42pm

Nice post bro

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01/28/2012 2:26pm

Thank you for data

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03/28/2012 7:22am

will come back before long

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03/30/2012 5:46am

THX for info

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09/24/2012 4:55pm

Good article bro

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    My name is Diana (a.k.a DS Tracy) I am a wife, mother,  and wannabe writer. One day, I hope to delete the wannabe part--no one likes a poser!  
     

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