Turning Darlings Into Words
What’s compulsive about writing is that your words can affect the world and the pieces stories need to be good are universally the same, yet adaptable to all individual personalities, even lazy ones, just not those easily prone to embarrassment.
The sexiest, most breathtaking chocolate-cake-level gift a writer can receive is motivation. There may be medical reasons behind your obsessive interest in Victorian England; you’ve recently finished an entire encyclopedia of jazz in two sittings, stifling back tears when Coltrane died; gardening is your life and it worries your family: surely it doesn’t, but that’s the passion-driven material you will hone with care and without self-doubt.
I’d be interested in reading gardening fiction. Flower personification could be charming. No? Says you.
It’s fun to think of readers as a shifting soup of expectations, because trying to please every drop is impossible and inadvisable. Imagine a friend or a fresh acquaintance telling you he likes “all music;” now imagine turning into him. Taste works by exclusion. You don’t like everything, so don’t spend valuable typeathons trying to make everyone like you. Yourself included.
I am not saying write things you don’t like. I’m saying allow yourself to write badly about things you really, really like. Transferring perfection onto a computer screen is more evacuation than careful assembly,
More murder and miracle resuscitation than nip, stitch, done,
Which is OK considering the mental image is still there to be your model in the aftermath.
When putting darlings into words, the careful get left behind: spew, cross out and redo.
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