Monday, September 11, 2006

Nearly good

I'm struggling with a novel that is nearly good. I have recently come to understand that it needs another draft, after I had told myself I was done. I can't get to it yet because I'm finishing my short story collection, which is almost, almost there. And the writing I'm doing for the last story is thrilling me, so that's good. But there's that novel hanging out there...I'll get to it, I'll get to it.

Here's a quote from Doris Lessing that I share for anyone who is having the same struggle:

"All writers...go through the stage when what we write is nearly good: the writing lacks some kind of inward clinching, the current has not run clear. We go on writing, reading, throwing away not-quite-good enough words, then one day something has happened, a process has been completed, a step forward has been taken...The process of writing and rewriting, and of reading the best, has at last succeeded. Professional writers all know this period of apprenticeship. Amateur writers cling to their early uneven drafts and won't let them go."

I will not cling...I will not cling...I will not cling...

4 comments:

Stephanie said...

I like th eidea of an inward clinching. Or cinching. Which ever. :)

But, then, of course, there are people who endlessly revise and are never ever done. That's no way to be either.

Susan Henderson said...

Spending time on a short story and with different characters might be just what you need to see the spark that's missing from the novel.

It sounds as if you're close, though.

katrina said...

Hmm. Something to think about. Thanks, Mary.

Linera Lucas said...

Yup. I hear you loud and clear.

I have two early novels that live in the deep dark file drawer. But the third novel, the current work, that one is different. It was hard to leave the other two, but necessary. For the third one to be itself.

I'm really looking forward to reading your novel.