Smoothing out the Struggle

Writing is hard, but proofreading is harder. That’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of days, going through my novel, Signs of Struggle, and ferreting out every little mistake, smoothing out a few rough patches, and doing a tad bit of rewriting (I gave one very minor character two names – not smart). It’s not much fun, but it’s another part of having a novel published that includes the concept of work. Just a different kind.

I think of Gene Fowler’s quote that writing is easy, all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper (or blank screen) until the drops of blood form on your forehead. And that’s hard work because Larry Niven, the sci-fi author of The Cold Place reminds us that it’s a cardinal sin to bore the reader. Not much pressure there. Or Leonard Elmore’s simple advice on how to write well: all you have to do is get rid of the boring parts.

And tomorrow is the first day of classes at Newberry College, and I have a small, talented group of young writers in my Advanced Fiction class. I’m wondering if I should just give them those three quotes above and turn them loose. Probably not. I’m using Stephen King’s On Writing as a guide for them, but not a textbook. No quizzes. Just writing about setting, conflict, dialogue and so on. I can’t wait.

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One Response to Smoothing out the Struggle

  1. Erin says:

    I have not read King’s non fiction as I will never be a writer (though sometime I dream that I had the patience to do so.) But LOVE his fiction (just finished The Stand…man that was good!) I bet that your students are excited and will have a GREAT time in class.

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