Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Great is the enemy of Good

I've mentioned before that I never wanted to be a great writer. Just a good one.

My literary heroes were the hacks. They pumped out tons of stuff. Some of it great, some readable, some of it truly awful. I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I figured I've got a thick skin, I can take a few bad reviews. If they get too bad I can follow my wife's advice and stop googling my name every 5 minutes.

I've been editing a couple of stories to release as ebooks, and I noticed that I'm spending a lot more time editing than it took me to write the stories in the first place. That's really not a hackish attitude.

I find myself working on a light comedy thinking: Where is this character's inner conflict? How can I make the reader connect to this character? Where is their passion, their fear? Have I shown my villain's noble purpose well enough?

Even worse I find myself thinking, “I've turned this into a good story, what does it take to make it great?”

I know that it is impossible to purposely make something great.

Great work isn't done on purpose. It's a combination of things, practice, constantly striving to be a bit better, and luck.

It's the combination of these things that leads to “accidentally” turning out something great.

Now if I can only convince myself of that.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

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