Friday, October 10, 2008

The Perfection Problem: Part 2, Responding to It

This morning I pulled out my newly printed & compiled thesis (which has its own dedicated binder) and a purple pen.

One of my new stories, "The Honeymoon of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Roux" was one that just kept getting longer as I wrote it. It's the longest of the collection, coming in at about 25 pages. As I wrote it, I had things I thought I needed to go back to and write more on. There was a moment when I wondered to myself just how long this thing needed to be in order for it to work.

This morning, I started with that story. It took me a while to read through it and make revision notes. However, I tackled this revision differently than I have in the past. For starters, and I have a hard time admitting this for fear of sounding silly, as I read, I imagined how Neil Gaiman would read it. I kept his voice, his pacing, his intonation in my mind. Because, let's face it, a good reader can make just about anything sound good.

As I read through the story with Neil's voice in my head and the mindset that I ought to ease up on myself, a lovely thing happened. This story, which I kept thinking was so sketched and rough, didn't seem so bad. I could see some the machinery behind the story working (i.e. plot points that connect like they ought) and I was able to lean back a little and just like my work. It was cool.

That said, I made notes on every single page about things to edit. When I get my critiques on it from the gang in the CWC and Juan, I'm sure there will be more things that need my attention. So, I'm not saying it's perfect as is. Rather, I'm saying that I'm letting myself like it for its own sake instead of focusing so much on what's wrong with it.

Part way through October, and I find myself applying my "nuts & bolts" fiction study having different results than I expected. Instead of giving me some technical, or stylistic, thing to try, it's giving me a different kind of mindset. The biggest thing I'm getting out of this so far is to trust myself more.

It's refreshing, to say the least.

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