We All Get There
Before we get into the meat of the blog of just wanted to say that I hope all of my Christian family and friends had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year. As I say every year, “its hard to believe that 2015 is here.” The time we have been given passes very quickly. When you’re young it drags and you know you will be young forever, but that is just a smoke screen. When you get past 30 the time starts increasing at a rapid rate. Before you know it the majority of your life is behind you and Christmas seems like it happens every two weeks. Enjoy your life and make it mean something to someone or a lot of someones.
Now onto the blog. If there’s one issue writing students worry about more than any other, it’s point of View. What is it? they ask. Am I doing it right? Am I in omniscient of third? Should I be in omniscient or third? Many times the confusion over point of view overwhelms the writer. The key thing to keep in mind is that choosing the right point of view will help you tell your story. That’s all. No one will come out and arrest you if you got it wrong. You’re just likely to confuse the reader.
Consider the differences between these two paragraphs. In the first: Cinderella longed to go to the ball. She dreamed of finding true love because no one ever loved her. She looked at the rose bush in front of her, inhaled its delicate bouquet, and hoped that someday she would hold a bouquet like this when she married.
In the second: Cinderella wanted to go to the ball. Prince Charming hoped he would meet her there. She put on a dress. He wanted to find some slippers. There was a pumpkin in the window.
In the first example, (which I hope you think is better), we’re seeing the world through Cinderella’s eyes. We’re identifying with her. In the second example, we don’t know whom we’re rooting for: Cinderella, Prince Charming or the pumpkin. Finding the right POV helps helps the reader understand what the story is about.
We all want to be done. We all want to see our book in stores, our story in the magazine, our screenplay made into a movie. Oh, and we’d like the money, too. Ten thousand dollars would be nice. Right now.
One of the very first things I did as a writer, when I had written no more than three paragraphs of my first story was look through a reference book for places that might publish it. My list had more words in it than my story. And I’m, embarrassed to say that the minute I finished the first draft, I sent the story out. To 20 places. Each of them rejected me with a form letter. I actually called up Redbook to ask why there was a problem, and I believe I got someone in the circulation department.
Unfortunately, some things can’t be rushed. You have to take time with your story; writing a first draft isn’t enough. You need to go through a couple of drafts. You need to deepen the character, intensify plot, tighten the dialogue, and flesh out descriptions. You need to proofread. You need to take enough time to do it right.
Many, many writers they that if they get good enough idea on the page and send it out, some insightful editor or agent will read it, recognize its inner value, take the writer under her wing, and fix it for her. This worked for Thomas Wolfe, but I don’t think you can count on it as a career path. Although there are lovely agents and editors out there, they are not really looking for extra work. They want you to finish the job yourself.
There are however some things you can do to give your ego a boost before you’re ready to send that story out. Try joining a writing community. A positive critique can make you feel great. You can also try writing some shorter work, which may be easier to get our quickly. Seeing your name in print on a flash fiction piece may give you the boost you need to finish that novel. Read literary journals and consider volunteering. some of the smaller ones need people to help read submissions. Sighing up can be a fun way to become part of the literary world.