Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seeking Perfection

I've read some really good books. Great writing, vivid characters, well thought out and surprising plot twists. On the other hand, I've read some not so good books.

As I learn more about writing, about my own and others, the harder it becomes for me to get into a book. Hence the enormous list of doom. It's not that I don't like reading anymore, I do. But for the first hundred pages or so, I just can't get my inner editor to shut up. Some books it shuts up sooner than others. Some books it's quiet until the middle of the book. It really depends on writing style, and how quickly the book draws me in, and how deep. If it can draw me in deep enough to completely immerse myself in the story, than the editor never has a chance to make snippy comments and generally complaining about little details that didn't bother me even a year ago.

Which gets me thinking. What if my book is one of those books I'm going to pick up and snip at while I read it? Okay, I do that anyway, because it's mine and I can still do something about it. But what if other people pick it up and snip at it, or can't get into it because of their inner critic?

I know what I like to read, and I know what I don't like to read. When I read something, I know if they've used too many adverbs or if it feels a bit too verbose. Sometimes I can find errors like "'Blah blah,' Sammy he said." It should have read as either "Sammy said," or "he said." Oops! But mistakes happen, and they're forgivable.

Because, lets face it, there's no such thing as perfection. There are always going to be mistakes. There are always going to be things I'll cringe at when I read my own writing, and think "I could have done that better." That's the point! To live and learn and grow and change and become better, even if you never reach perfection.

A wise friend once told me, "If you ever stop learning, you stop living." If I ever write the perfect book, I don't think I'd write anymore. There wouldn't be much point, would there?

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