Monday, March 30, 2009

Okay, I'm off and raving. In truth, I have a few meager publishing credits. I even have a novella entitled Penitence. I'll rave about that at a later date. I promise. I've taken several classes on how to write fiction, read lots of books, tried and failed, tried and succeeded a few times, had professional writers read my stuff and tell me it's good (even received a letter from Bentley Little once). I don't say all this to boast. It should be readily apparent that I'm not all too confident in my abilities. I wouldn't be doing this if I was. My point for recounting my successes is this:

I know nothing about construction. I can honestly tell you hammering a nail in is a struggle for me. I pay through the nose for all types of home repairs. There's this guy I barely know more than what would be referred to as an associate relationship. He knows I write, he's read my novella and some of my shorts. I know he's a builder and, from what I hear, he's pretty darned good at it. Today he asks me, "any new books in the hopper?" I respond that one more is done and another is percolating in my mind. He asks about the stewing novel. And I tell him--in great detail. Never ask a writer to elaborate on something he's excited about. This guy, we'll call him Bob the Builder, proceeds to say, "Let me tell you how to write that book."
He tells me how to write my book. The book I just know is going to be the best I've ever written, the book I teared up over after I wrote the first chapter and looked on at God-like admiring its creation.
I'm listening politely.
Perhaps I should go to his house this weekend and prod him continually with the butt of a hammer. "Hey, Bob, this is what you need to do here." Snap a chalked plumb string across his brow, "Hey, Bob, you should always put a toilet next to your dishwasher."
C'mon! People always assume that writing a story, a novel, non-fiction, is just a walk through the park. A good idea + time=best seller! Never mind the hours and hours of perfecting your idea then creating it. Then revising it. Then revising it. Then revising. Then getting crushed by an honest reader's feedback again and again and again. Then sending off query letters and getting denied again and again and again. Then rewriting the whole thing. All Bob the Builder has to do is install his toilet next to his dishwasher and pop a squat. Then letting it all go with the ease of a laxative-like enhanced accomplishment. His toilet is still there. So long as he installed it correctly,which he probably did, his toilet will always be awaiting him there. It will never fail him, no one will ever come over to his kitchen and sit on that toilet, grunt and say, "Nope. I didn't like the way it sits me." It's a toilet. Which is where his opinion should remain. Until he flushes it.

Critique: Too wordy.
Sign off: I'll call you--you won't call me.

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