Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back Again

So, it's been a month since my last blog entry. Why the silence, you ask? Nothing personal. Nothing you did. It's me, not you!

Actually, it was me and the rewriting of the novel. As I stated in the Revision Update entry, I have been in the throes of editing my book, On the Edge of Someplace Else. While the feedback I had received from a couple of agents, as well as a couple of non-agent readers, simply suggested that the novel needed some tightening up, some reworking of the characterizations, to move the action along a tad quicker, and such, I started seeing it as much weaker than they did. I started seeing my fear in the writing: fear of being too obvious, too aggressive, too offensive with the subject matters (rape and child molestation). Once I realized this, I decided I had to dive deeper into these characters' lives and actions and motives for the novel to succeed, at least for me. So I jumped back in, but this time kept swimming until I reached the bottom, and with that the edit soon became an all out rewrite. From a tense change (from present to past, allowing reflection), to a narrative shift (from omniscient narrator to one of the main characters), the entire feel of the novel changed to one that, I feel, is more intense, weightier, more meaningful. So, the work has been more than worth it.

But why the fear in the first place, though? Of course, all writer's have fears: fear of missing the mark of their true intention, fear of not being understood, and, of course, fear of rejection. But this fear had to do more with being too raw for the reader. Instinctually, I am a raw writer. I love the blatant truth in writing. I love writing about difficult subjects plainly, without smoke, without mirrors. Just saying it, whatever "it" maybe be, gets it out of the way for the real excavation to begin. I've always written this way, astonishing many with the rawness and honesty. But for some reason in this novel, I found myself holding back. Maybe because these stories aren't, technically, mine, I didn't feel I could truthfully speak in my usual manner. But most likely, I just didn't trust that the readers of my novel could handle truth, honesty, and the raw reality of life. I snuck around the subject matters like a scared child, using tricks and subtlety that reeked of dishonesty and, most of all, fear. With this latest version, I decided to turn on the lights, show the reality of these characters' lives in all their blatant ugliness. And lo and behold, the book is the closest it's ever been to my original vision of the story.

So, the moral of this blog entry: Fuck the Fear! Simple as that. Works for writing, as well as life in general. Fuck the fear of even trying to be a published writer. Fear has kept me from this dream for far too long as it is, so fuck it, I say. Maybe I'll work up a t-shirt to sell. Maybe a bumper sticker, refrigerator magnets. I can see this happening, sweeping the nation. I can hear Obama starting the State of the Union address off with the new American motto: Fuck the Fear!

Who's with me? Who's gonna fuck the fear? We've got nothing to loose...but the fear.

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