Saturday, September 3, 2011

What On Earth?

Last Saturday, I bought a book at a writers' conference. I'd promised myself to read more and I thought it good to buy a book from an author who cared enough to come to our conference and speak.

The book was an eye-opener. I've had them before. I'm sure you have. 

Let me preface this by saying that I hate lying. Truly hate it. I especially hate lying to myself and am on watch constantly, making sure that I don't fall into such a heinous habit. 

I've been a copious reader and have never felt any jealousy towards another author. Yet, I have a nagging feeling that, since becoming a writer, I might 'lean' towards jealousy.

No - unequivocally no. I've read many books since I started writing and I don't feel I've been jealous. I don't feel I'm lying to myself.

Suffice it to say then, that the book was not good. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was terrible, but I read fifty (50!) pages and hadn't learned a thing more in chapter five than I'd read in chapter one. 

And the -ly-'s. They were all over the place. Now, I know the rule states that these are to be used sparingly (forgive me - I don't worry about them here on my blog!). The author was not sparing in the use of words that end in ly (adverbs). Also, phrases were used time and again within sentences of each other. So were the same words. Used over and over within short paragraphs.

I suppose I could read on and forget those things if the story held any semblance of plot. Well, to be fair, there seems to be a plot running through it, but there has been no story arc. I'm not trying to be facetious, being as I've only just discovered story arc, but it has been shown to me, and I try to learn from all that is brought to my attention, that a story arc is a good thing.

I can sense that the author is leading me somewhere, but it is taking forever. AND - it is a short book. Remember, I'm on chapter five and nowhere near any tension or sense of what's going to happen next. Or even caring what happens next.

To bring this musing to a close, I see that my editor is correct. I do write well. You probably do, too. The focus must be in building myself up, my confidence. I struggle to go forward in my books because, I think, I don't believe I am a good writer. I've got to quash that thought NOW. 

I suppose this is another saying that must be pasted on my bathroom mirror.


Life is specific in its truth.


  1. You definitely are a good writer. It's not pride to say it out loud -- it's recognition of a truth that ought not to be dismissed lightly, because if you do, it really does undermine your confidence. One has to own to an element of boldness when one writes, and that includes the boldness to admit to yourself and to others that you are good at what you do!

  2. It is even more important, to be truthful and sure of yourself, when you are writing the blasted query/cover letter!