Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heaven and Hell


This post is about the thing(s) that torture writers. You'd think it was a walk in the park - if you didn't write, you'd swear it wasn't a big deal. Got an idea for a great book? Write it down. Pull out the old sheet of paper and pen or laptop and keyboard and go at it! But for those of us who write, we know the truth about writing. It's all about heaven and hell, and sometimes (oftentimes) more about living in the nine rings of hell then anything else. Okay, I'm in revisions, thus my angst.

But how come so many people on the planet know so much about the pain and agony of giving birth to a manuscript?

What has prompted me to examine this question in all of its highly frustrating denominations? Nothing slight, I guarantee you.

It's a new Meryl Streep movie (check out stage left - facing your monitor). Or it's the fact that the movie is about Julia Child and Julie Powell and what they went through to get their respective books published, and to establish themselves as writers.

Okay, back to my point. Could it be that the writers community has the best PR on the planet. Not only do we know how much we suffer, we know that half the movie-going public also knows and they love to hear, see, or smell something that reeks of failure just before a great success is born.

Now let me state the obvious. Just finished watching Julie & Julia - and enjoyed it immensely. As I watched, I also wondered did everyone in the theater empathize with the main characters in the same spots where I laughed loudly or held back a sob? I think so. Because the general public has been educated by writers (of fiction, television, film, or whatever) about the writer's life in all of its pain and glory.

Why? Because writers of entertainment enjoy sharing their angst. And that's why everyone in the theater during the two hour movie was an aspiring author. They shared the main characters' failure and success, and that's what made the movie so enjoyable for me - the same way a good book is enjoyed - through character. (Okay, recently I was at a writer's convention and told a lie. I said I approach my books from plot. No, I don't. I do think of a situation and then I create characters to dwell in that situation - but I don't always say here's a character and now what am I going to do with him or her. Right now, I'm doing that in REVISION!

Okay, back to the main point of this post - revisions: heaven or hell? I think you know where I stand.

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