Setting Goals Part Three

I didn’t make my writing goals this week. I had wanted to rework the middle of my first PowerForce book to add some tension and up the life and death stakes. I only managed to get one scene reworked instead of the three I wanted to do. I guess some goals can be too ambitious. I’d forgotten how hard this type of writing is for me. The first PowerForce book Attack of the Dinomatrons has gone through several edits and it’s a pretty tight manuscript at this point. It’s so much easier to write a first draft. Or at least it is for me. I’m not constrained by things I’ve already done. But when I have to take apart a polished scene and only keep bits of it while adding new pieces, it’s like taking a jack hammer to a sculpture—It’s really hard to end up with something beautiful. It takes a lot of work and control to get that jackhammer to make refined shapes. It always takes me much longer to do this type of writing than a first draft. In the end I know it will be worth it. And I know eventually these changes will be seamless. But until it’s finished it’s tortuous. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just write it fresh. I have done that with other manuscripts but usually it’s because I want to change something major, like the tense or the POV. I only need to change three scenes in this story and maybe do some minor tweaking in others to maintain continuity. How hard can it be? Judging by...

Self-Satisfaction—the Death of Creativity

I was just reading Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews and there’s an artist character in it that has got me thinking. The artist is a thoroughly disagreeable person who naturally ends up dead, but it was the comments about his work that has me thinking. He was an artist that showed a lot of promise in his youth and made a big splash on the art scene, but then his style never changed. The level of his work remained the same for 40 years. How is it possible to paint, or for that matter, write, and not get better—to remain at the same level? In the very act of doing you would naturally learn better control, make discoveries, try new things, wouldn’t you? It says a lot about his character that he thought he was brilliant as he was and didn’t have to strive to get better. He thought he was perfect and never saw the flaws in his work. Fortunately I don’t think most creatives look at their work that way. I know I always see the flaws first. Later I may be able to appreciate how I handled something but at first glance it’s what I didn’t do well that hits me in the face. It’s more prevalent with my art rather than my writing. I have an immediate reaction to an image and it’s pretty evident to me what I struggled with and didn’t come out the way I intended. And while I know most people don’t see what I see, those flaws affect my own appreciation and spark thoughts of “I’m not good enough.”...