Thursday, June 21, 2007
Writing what you read, and reading what you write
What to think, what to think...
I sat down over the last couple of days and read the Asphodel series from beginning to end. It started when I went over my line edits for book one with a fine-toothed comb. Once I'd done that, I thought, "Hmm....I wonder how the rest of the story reads now that I've been away from it so long?
(A little background--although I'm well into book seven, I've taken about a year and half away from the whole project so I could concentrate on other things)
At any rate, so I read. And not wishing to toot my own horn, but I enjoyed it. Sure, there were boo-boos that really drove me nuts (my favorite at the moment is trying to "clam a horse". I'm not sure that's possible...) but for the most part I was able to put aside my writer's eye and view it from a reader's eye.
I was pleased. J.K. Rowling it ain't, but it worked for me.
I then started to think seriously about that. Why is it that I could read my own work and enjoy it? I should be horrified every time I pick up one of my stories. Other authors are. And, granted, nothing I write is ever *good enough*. Even in my published stuff, I'll run across phrases and cringe or get into a storyline and think to myself, "Where in the hell did that come from?" This was different. I actually was pulled in by the story. Lately, reading my own work has been a chore because of all of the little editing comments in the margins.
But that's work. That's polishing and refining in order to make the story better. Just reading for the fun of it should be different, right? Right?
Maybe it all boils down to this: I write what I like to read. The type of story I craft is instinctively the sort of story that, if I read the blurb on a book jacket in the bookstore, I would buy. Yes, so I'm sort of plebian in my tastes but what difference does that make? If the story is good, the cliches of the genre don't bother me. When you get right down to it, I actually embrace the cliches. After all, I was raised on Greek mythology--and that's where the cliches originated. I'm not out to impress the reader (and by proxy, myself) with my brilliance and my intellectual standards, although I daresay if I wanted to I could. I'm out to tell a story, a story that I find entertaining and hope that other people are entertained by as well. I'm not saying this is some sort of writing epiphany, but it does sort of box in my opinions about it.
Perhaps we should consider that the Celina Words Of Wisdom Du Jour.
And in other news, rereading Asphodel has reinspired me. Yesterday, I wrote 11k on Book 7. Another 30k should finish it, and then it's on to Book 8 for the grand finale.
And yes. nothing is as it seems.