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21 February 2007 @ 07:26 am
Q & A - #15 - "What are your best and worst writing-related experiences?"  
Q & A - #15 - "What are your best and worst writing-related experiences?" ~ bostonerin 

BEST

I can say without a doubt in my mind that finishing my second novel, NORMAL FOR ONCE, has been my best writing-related experience so far. Finishing my first novel comes a close second. 

There's something about finishing a draft of a novel that feels like the biggest accomplishment in the world. Any non-writer who on a whim says, "I want to write a novel," doesn't know what they're talking about. A lot of hard work goes into the words on those pages, the lives of those characters, and knowing that everything has wrapped up in some cohesive way brings great satisfaction. Even knowing you're going to have to tear them all to pieces in future revisions.

WORST

Photo Credit to www.gettyimages.comTearing my novel all to pieces. Throwing away words. Amputating my plot. Trashing great scenes.

I could talk about writer's block and all that goes along with that, but I'm firmly convinced that writer's block simply means not wanting to sit down at the keyboard. 

Photo Credit to www.gettyimages.comThe hardest, worst experience I've survived was the gruesome revision of NORMAL FOR ONCE. The swirling cloud of advice from good writing friends started to form into certain pictures (you know that game with the clouds?), so I decided to face my fears and take the knife to my novel. Going into it, I just knew I was going to botch things, deleting necessary or unforgettable scenes and ending up with incomplete character and story arcs. That was terrifying. 

On this side of the terror, I can say that I learned more about myself as a writer and about the craft of writing from that revision than from any other single event in my writing life. I guess that's how bad experiences are, though -- a piece of sand in the oyster of my brain -- one more set of reps at the bench press -- callouses on guitar-playing fingers -- the tough stuff makes us stronger.
______________ 

All the questions are officially answered, but I'd love to answer more. So if you've got anything you wish you could know about me,
ASK IT HERE.
 
 
 
christy_lenzi on February 21st, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
>>A lot of hard work goes into the words on those pages, the lives of those characters, and knowing that everything has wrapped up in some cohesive way brings great satisfaction. Even knowing you're going to have to tear them all to pieces in future revisions.<<

Well said and so true.

(I know you do a lot of photography--are many of the photos you use on your blog your own? They're very nice.)
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
Many of the pictures are. I usually try to credit the ones that aren't with an ALT tag.
Newport2Newport: fainting couchnewport2newport on February 21st, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
Friends of yours are responsible for your worst writing-related experiences? Awesome. heh.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
And I'm totally thankful for it. It's amazing the way something you think is going to be your worst writing experience ends up one that you learn the most from.
ryan_fieldryan_field on February 22nd, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
About your answer
I've read practially everything posted on your web site, and NORMAL FOR ONCE, from what little I've read, is something I'd buy in the bookstore. Just the one line, "Abe Prince lived life like a juggler", would hook me at once. It's one of those lines like, "I am doomed to remember..." that makes me want to read on. All the hard work (and I know HOW HARD you've worked because I've been doing the same thing myself)you've put into NORMAL FOR ONCE is evident. And from what I see you'll probably continue to evolve very well. There's nothing more to say; it's that good (I get wired when I really like something...because so many things are such a huge disappointment).
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: About your answer
It's words of encouragement like these that make certain days brighter. Thanks, Ryan.

Now if we could just get a few agents wired. Then a couple editors...
ryan_fieldryan_field on February 27th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: About your answer
Just be patient; you're young and only getting better. I really would buy NORMAL FOR ONCE from what little I've read.
(Deleted comment)
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 26th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
:)