8/29/14

How to Drive This Analytical Writer Crazy

I'll start by mentioning that I wasn't born with a pen in hand, writing as soon as I took a breath of air. So many authors claim to start out this way--tongue in cheek, I hope--but none the less, many writers have been writing in some form or another since they learned to write.

It seems as if they were born with a creative bent to their minds.

Creativity comes hard for me--and I'm sure many authors will react by saying that it isn't easy for them either, but they manage to overcome their obstacles.

Well, my writing passion has been hidden for years as my mind has more of an analytical edge to it versus a creative edge. I have always been fond of the sciences, which tend to be black, white, and even various shades of grey. I have a Bachelor's of SCIENCE degree in Medical Technology, in fact I was about three hours shy of getting a minor in CHEMISTRY.

See? There is nothing in that last paragraph that suggests ARTS or CREATIVITY. I love math and science. I love logical and linear thinking. I love everything that makes sense . . .

Writing and the arts is SUBJECTIVE, which means I might love something, but you might not like the same thing that I love. For example: I love reading Rick Riodan and J.K.Rowlings, I can't get my daughter to even crack open one of their books. She loved the Hunger Games and Divergent series, I don't care enough to even learn the author's names, much less read the books.

Subjective. See?

So how does a person with an analytical thought process get into the writing biz?

Beats the heck out of me, but for some odd reason I want to write and share my stories.

Here's the problem:

Analytical people want to find the elusive answer to the perfect story. There is no perfect story. We tend to forget that everyone has an opinion as we strive to perfect our product.

While writing is a creative endeavor, the basis of the writing process is an analytical one. You need to know the mechanics of grammar, sentence structure, character arcs, story arcs, chapter cliffhangers, what makes a reader keep on reading, blah, blah, blah.

But even various publishing houses have different 'styles'. Some houses will ALWAYS use the serial comma, while other publishing houses don't. I've also seen a distressing trend of not placing a comma in a statement that addresses an individual. For example: "Put a damn comma in there (comma) Margaret!" I don't know if it's writers being lazy or simply an oversight, but I really have an issue with this. Then again, I love commas. Commas are the little 'breathers' in a sentence as they give the reader a teeny-tiny break in a sentence.

Anyway, back to driving me crazy.

A few months ago, I mentioned that I finaled in RWA's Daphne contest. Actually, one nice aspect of this contest is that when you final, you do NOT get to see the first round judges scores or comments until after the winners are announced. So it wasn't until months later when I found out that I was placed fourth out of five finalists.

Okay. I'm good. And then I got my scores from the first round of judging. . . .

I have to admit that this is the part that usually tears me up as I wonder why certain aspects of the story didn't appeal to the judges.

Out of a possible 123 points, I got a 116, 119, 120 --excellent scores, good comments, and I totally understand why I was marked off in the relationship category since the hero wasn't even introduced--and then I had an 86. WTF?!

Well, okay, they just didn't get into the story which was reflected by the comments. I understand. Trust me, six months ago, I would have tried to find some way to 'fix' this and justify her comments. I would have tried to make everyone happy.

But in a creativity-type endeavor like writing, it just isn't going to happen. The judge might love reading paranormal stories, but she didn't love reading my story . . . but three other judges did like the story.

And then I went on vacation and didn't think about anything else other than having fun at Walt Disney World and Universal Florida. When I got home I had an email from the contest coordinator who had the final judge's comments.

Deep breath. I opened the email.

And their conflicting comments would have caused me to yank my hair out if I hadn't finally decided that the only real person I have to please is myself.

Agent's comments:

This is a fun story and the writing is solid. My concern is that the world-building is too complex and slows the story. The market has shifted away from stories with lots of world building.
Which echoed the concerns the low scoring judge wrote.

Editor's comments:

Great writing. However, it's a little confusing at times. Author could spend a little more time world-building, to make the story easier to follow. Nice voice!

They both seemed to like  my writing--Yahoo!  But . . . Less world-building? More world-building?

What's an analytical writer to do with this conflicting advice?? This is the stuff that totally drives me bonkers!

It's taken me fourteen years to get to this point, but I finally feel confident enough with my writing that I will simply do what works for MY STORY. And no, I won't add more world-building or remove world-building.

I'm doing what needs to be done to tell my story.

And that is how this analytical writer has decided to keep her sanity.

Later, Peeps!



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