I talked a bit about my frustration at working hard to be a better storyteller and not having much in the way of results. Perhaps you recall that post.
Well, sometimes things aren’t as we perceive them, and I think for me, there has been some improvement without even realizing it.
One way I can tell is when I cruise around the Internet, checking out writing blogs, and discovering the posts there are things I already do, or already know. I find out by reading the page, and then identifying whether I need to implement the information, or have implemented it some other way.
It would save me a lot of time if I didn’t have to read each article to make that determination, of course, but I digress.
Now, this isn’t indicative of having “arrived” as a writer. Far from it. If I’ve only learned one thing from Dean Wesley Smith‘s blog over the last six months or so – and there’s not, I’ve learned tons – it’s that learning the craft takes time, and doesn’t stop. So there’s no point at which I’ll have “arrived” as a writer. Ever. And that’s hard for someone goal-oriented as I am to take.
But again, I digress.
I’ve grown in the last six or seven months since I started my last novel. By the time I finished it, I’d gotten my groove back with the characters and the story world created for that series, but going back to make a few more additions (yes, I added a couple of high-powered moments to make the ending have more punch) indicated to me I’d grown, too. Enough to recognize – and improve – some of the wording of that book.
The problem is, improving the words isn’t the indication that I’ve grown. HA! Had you there, didn’t I? You thought I was measuring words as the meter for whether I’ve grown. Not even close.
See, here’s the catch: ALL writers can improve their words after a time. You’re going to be a better writer – if you keep at it and are seeking it – in six months, or two books, or whatever, than you are when you finish the last book. The next one comes from your new experiences and strength. And this leads to the myth that a book is never finished.
No, what that means, is you’re never finished, as the writer. You are a work in progress. And you should always and forever be striving for the next big thing for you, the next learning stage for you, and constantly beware the “I’ve learned it all” warning sign in your own head.
For me, the realization came with the understanding that I could go back into this manuscript, add a few short sentences and alter a couple of others, and strengthen the book. It’s not the words, not the prose. It’s the story that’s enhanced, and when I finished I realized if I don’t publish this prematurely, there could be other revelations like this.
I woke from sleep with those additions in my head, and didn’t write them down, and didn’t worry about them. I waited to discuss them with my wife, and she agreed they’d be improvements, so I wrote them in. I didn’t lose any wording, I didn’t lose any tension or excitement about them, I just…wrote them.
And they made the story better.
So now I’ve taken a tiny step, a baby step really, forward on the road of storytelling. Not writing, per se, but storytelling, and it’s a joy to do.
Now, if I can just get that same mojo happening for the new Ghost Hunters version/rewrite/incarnation, I’ll have it all figured out. 🙂
I hope you all had a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. We sure did!