Gotta Love It–Part II (#IWSG)

IWSG So, awhile back I posted an IWSG posted entitled “Gotta Love It”, talking about how it’s in the best interest as authors, much like actors and stage performers, to learn to love the audition (or query process). If you’re interested, Part I can be found here.

I’d like to expound on that a bit today. Because, unlike stage performers, auditioning only forms one part of the entire process. Authors are responsible for the entire production, as it were.

It’s easy to love the art of writing (those some days may be easier than others!). I find it all too easy a lot of the time to get caught up in the flood tide of words, especially when they’re flowing like music and my pen moves so quickly along the paper I can hardly understand what I wrote afterwards. But it’s deep, it’s hot, it’s a flippin’ tattoo to the creative process. When the words sing, there’s nothing like it. I live for those fugue-like acid trips into my own creative hive mind. Sometimes I even surprise myself.

But that’s the art of writing. The art, with enough practice and discipline, and the right mindset, is easy. Easy and exhilarating as following an empty road in a convertible Mustang with ALL THE POWER. Whee! 😀

The craft is something different, though it can be just as exhilarating in its own way. The craft comes when you finish a draft, and you set it aside a spell to let the engines cool. Crafting requires fresh perspective, and objectivity. It’s a lot like sculpting in marble–you have to see the inner image and the story tells clearly in this big, heavy block of a draft. And then you have to chip away at it, until only that image and story remain. It won’t take a day. It probably won’t even take a week. It certainly won’t take only one pass of the chisel. No, you go over it again, and again. Chip, chip, chip…

Eventually you get a definite form. The image becomes more clear, more concise, with every pass. Eventually your chips become shavings, and you ask your fellow artists “What do you think?” Then come the polishing cloths, in different textures. One for content, another for scene work, yet another for sentence structure and word usage.

You have to love the craft as much as the art of it. Drafting is easy. Revisions, rewrites, testing it in critique circles and with beta testers, polishing until your marble image is smooth as glass and just as clear. It takes time and patience, and a clear vision. It takes walking around the thing, over and over, examining the piece from all angles and in different lights. That’s craftmanship. Craftmanship is what sets apart the professional from the merely aspiring. It’s what sets apart the truly great from the merely good.





8 thoughts on “Gotta Love It–Part II (#IWSG)

  1. S. L. Hennessy says:

    The craft, the editing, the revisions. Not my favorite part of writing. But it’s a necessary part and something we have to use the same loving care on if we want to get anywhere.

    Happy two years IWSG!

  2. nancyrae4 says:

    In the throes of a draft on a second novel, I’m already in trouble. The plot kind. But, I agree that when it’s good it’s very very good. My first novel revision was an amazing process, exhausting and exciting at the same time. Learning the craft is hard work but worth every minute.

    1. catemorgan says:

      It is hard work, and it is completely worth it. And with every story’s journey I learn something new, about how to do it better and cleaner next time. Thx for commenting!

  3. David Stringer says:

    I seem to be in a very small minority of writers who actually prefer the ‘rewriting’ process, but it’s quite rare that I get that far.

    I can find it absolutely frustrating when I’m working away at the first draft, having built a huge story arc and found out that I can’t make a vital scene work…

    1. catemorgan says:

      I’m with you on both counts, David. For me, rewrites are where craft truly comes into play. I take it all apart, disentangling, then put it all together again like a puzzle. Good luck!

      1. David Stringer says:

        The problem I have with puzzles is that there’s only one solution – whether its a crossword, soduku or whatever, and figuring it out tends to wind me up.

        With writing, its like a puzzle with a load of positive possibilities!

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