Friday, August 09, 2002

I just posted this on Forward Motion in answer to some emails that I will not answer personally:

I have received three emails in the last two days on a subject that I need to address. I'm not certain these people are from the site -- I didn't recognize the email addresses (one hotmail, one AOL and one odd one). I purposely did not look for names. I scanned the notes and deleted them, and deleted them from the trash folder as well. I have no intention of getting into a 'discussion' in email with people over this. I will, however, address the main problems because I think it is something that people at the site need to consider.

It is not my job to tame the way I write to suit other members of the site. Nor should anyone else on the site be expected to. I have repeatedly said, both here on the boards as well as in chat, that we all write in our own ways. I don't care if people write 10,000 words a day or 10 words a week. If you achieve your goal of completing a manuscript, then you have done everything that you need to as far as word count is concerned.

I write in a way that suits me, and yes... writing one million words in one year is excessive. I still hope to do it. I don't think it reflects badly on Forward Motion any more than the people who write 1000 words a year reflect badly on the site. It doesn't matter that I'm a Moderator or Assistant Site Host. I am a writer who works in my own way, as do we all. Yes, I encourage people to write more words than they do. It helps some writers, and not others. Some try it and find they work better in other ways. There's nothing wrong with pushing yourself to achieve more words. Just keep in mind that if you intend to make a living at this craft, you cannot do it on 10 words a week.

This is a site created by Holly Lisle to help people who are interested in becoming professionally published writers. We will not all get there on the same path, or at the same speed. I am taking a rather roundabout way myself -- but I love what I am doing, and I am making progress.

I saw mention of writing perfect words instead of masses of words in two of the emails. Well, you want to know what perfect words really are? Here is the big secret, and one you should all keep in mind: Perfect words are whatever words work best in your manuscript to move the story line forward. They are not always going to be 'take your breath away' perfection in prose. Some of them will be utilitarian little snippets that get your character from bed to the kitchen on a dull gray morning. Yes, you can make it a lovely set of lines, and such beautiful prose that it sings... but that won't always make the story better.

Writers can sit and stare at a blank screen for days waiting for the perfect prose lines to appear... but chances are, the more they worry about the perfection of the prose, the less they'll worry about the story itself -- and that way lies... well, unfinished stories, and hackneyed plots. Not always, and not for every writer. If it works for you, I'm envious -- and you are among a very rare breed of writer. If, however, you are using 'oh it has to be perfect prose' as an excuse not to write, you would do much better to get over it.

I would love to always find the perfect melding of prose and plot. I'd love to find the perfect melding of life and writing, for that matter. Failing in both of those -- as nearly every writer will -- I will go on and write in ways that suit me and work on both the writing and rewriting of my work to make it the best I can create.

People who want to write do not always love writing every day of their lives. People often need a break from the sheer intensity of working on manuscripts, creating people, places and events that are not real. And sometimes 'real life' makes writing more of a task than a joy. That's understandable. But there is no reason to blame it on someone else. Take responsibility for how you feel toward your work.

And now, having spent far more time on this than I intended, I am going to go do some serious writing. I expect to enjoy every moment of it, and I wish the rest of the you same joy, no matter how you work.

No comments: