Monday, October 18, 2010

To Chuck or Not to Chuck?: That is the question

I’ve stopped writing. 
Not because I want to but because I’m tapped out, plain and simple. After sharing the latest draft of my novel with two people I trust, I’ve realized that it needs a lot of work. Or, maybe, that I should simply chuck it.

This photo is a metaphor for my novel. When Adam and I first moved in here after I finished grad school, our giant living room was a blank canvas; with only a couple of chairs, a rug and some plants to fill it, we looked forward to making it come to life. So, too, with my story. Now that the walls have been painted, the color just doesn't feel right. And it's back-breaking work to have to do it all over again.

Adam is an editor of the highest order, to the point that it makes me jealous. Yes, he actually studied creative writing (and I didn’t), but still. With all of the books I’ve read, you’d think I'd have a grasp of what goes into good fiction.
Did John Grisham take a creative writing class? Okay, okay, he writes beach books. Still, my point is that with all of the writing I’ve done in college and grad school, I felt sure enough of my talent, or at least of my smarts, to give it a try. 
So, now that I have given it a try, I’m less than encouraged. What to do? Re-write the whole thing? One of the people who read this latest draft said, “I’m not an expert or anything, but there are a couple of chapters where it seems like there’s no action. Just a lot of dialogue.”
I wasn’t upset or hurt, probably because I knew she was right. Part of being a writer is having to deal with criticism. In graduate school I endured thesis peer review sessions that were so intense I thought my mind would melt from the pressure. 
So it’s not the criticism so much as the lack of inspiration at this point. When I first embarked on this writing jaunt, I was so excited. Now, I sort of can’t stand my female protagonist! Isn’t that just sad? Or do all writers hit a wall so to speak? 
Whatever the case, I’m going to try posting regularly again just to get the juices flowing. Plus, I really just miss my lovely blogger friends.


  1. Did you get the story down that you wanted?
    I know that what you blogged..if that is the story that you went on with....I loved
    and cared about....I was drawn into
    Friends are the worst critics...they think they have to to be critical
    And dialogue can move the story along very well
    ....I can't believe you finished it....
    yeah for you!!...Now it needs some loving molding and editing..and maybe expanding..
    but if you are happy with the story you told...keep on it
    If it were easy...everyone would do it are a writer....a good one....
    Did you write it thinking in terms of casting it....make it a movie....and then a sequel?
    Does your character's story just end...or do we want more.....of her
    ANd Christine I have missed you very much....and painting stinks...but so does the wrong color on the wall....find its opposite on the color wheel and make it pop...or change the light...
    It's like writing indeed...make it work..don't give's your space of being
    make it right and write on

  2. Hey, Suz! So nice to hear from you. I've been visiting your blog but haven't commented...not sure why. I'm loving your autumn pumpkins and such. Your "Cut Your Losses" post has become my daily prayer. I mean seriously, were you speaking directly to me?

    As for my novel, I'm at an impasse. That person who read the draft is my sister and she meant no harm. To be honest, she's probably right. Adam really knows his stuff and has been doing some editing. The story is definitely based on the blog...just a few changes as to why Willa (my protagonist) leaves for France in the first place. The problem is I've been putting all my eggs in this basket, so to speak. Maybe I need to leave it alone for a while and focus more on my students.

    Anyhoo, like I said I'm going to try to post regularly if I can, if only to stay in touch :-)

    Thanks again for your encouragement! (Oh, and please call me Chrissy!)