I chatted last week about the BAD of writing PLUMB CRAZY, this week I'm going touch on the UGLY. No one want unpleasantness. No one. First I want to admit, writing PLUMB CRAZY was no chore. I loved it. I laughed so hard while writing it, I fell off the couch a few times. It was a joyous journey for me, but there were a few ugly moments.
First up, I love to prose on about the joys of plumbing. You may thank my critique group partners that my book is not weighed downed with LENGTHY descriptions of how to bust out concrete with a jack hammer and the minute details of measuring lengths of pipe. Cutting my darlings was UNPLEASANT! Like any pruning experience in writing it hurts at first but then it is all good.
Next, never start a story with a sunrise, unless that sun is about to go supernova. You must be a seasoned writer with many awards to start with a sunrise (cough, Noman by William Nicholson) or a dark and stormy night (cough, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle). Believe me these writers got away with it; they didn't improve their stories with their choices. So, yes, PLUMB CRAZY began with a sunrise until I so got over it. Too many readers snoozing for the first five minutes. Start as close to something happen as you can. Avoid the so-so, mundane, average start.
Last of all, did you know readers like to know what your character is thinking? I am so close to my character Elva Presley Hicks that I feel like she may be one of my kids. So, this turned out to be some ugly stuff in early drafts of my book. Readers wanted to know what she was thinking. Um, did you know readers are NOT mind readers? It turned out that I wanted to protect Elva. This is a human reaction but it is ugly in fiction. Making Elva vulnerable was an UNCOMFORTABLE experience. I could NOT keep her safe. Remember that when you write: Don't do the safe thing.
Next week I will dip into the transcendent of writing PLUMB CRAZY. I hope that you will come back.
Here is a doodle:
Here is a quote for your pocket:
Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.
― Dorothy Parker
― Dorothy Parker