I had my one-on-one with my manager today. As we were sitting at Culver’s, we started discussing writing. I mentioned that I sometimes think about going back to school but I want to study Greek mythology and creative writing and NABABNA just won’t pay for that. Business writing, yes. I find business writing incredibly boring. Which is strange, because I actually do a lot of it in my job as a call monitor and editor of our electronic library. That I can handle. But it’s writing the procedures that makes me a little nuts. Which, you guessed it, I am usually the one that updates the procedures whenever there’s a change. I’m the one that people go to if they need something reviewed before they send it out to a larger audience.
It’s just not my passion. In high school and for the small amount of college I actually paid attention to, what really grabbed me was fiction (and some historical stuff, if the text book wasn’t the dry, fact-based crap you usually found) and Drama. I loved my English classes, embraced the Drama department and worked on both the newspaper and the yearbook. Actually, when you think of it, yearbooks are just large scrapbooks so I guess it’s not a surprise that I enjoyed it.
So Cheryl asked me about my writing and I told her about how, over the years, I had started several books but never really got further than the first chapter. After that, I would edit. And edit some more. And then review everything, decide it was all crap and set it aside. I read once that every author has an inner critic. Mine is vicious. Nothing I ever do is good enough, it’s boring, no one would ever want to read it. Also, my internal critic doesn’t know how to shut the heck up. I know that, in retrospect, what I am writing is actually interesting and that people may enjoy it. Especially when you consider some of the novels that are published. I’ve read books that made me cringe from the poor dialogue and lack of plot lines (or, in the last book I read, too many plot lines). But that critic of mine won’t let me continue.
One of the problems is that I cannot write descriptions of characters or places. I am honest enough to admit that is a failing. My characters are incredibly nuanced in my head but on paper, they are flat and one dimensional. Except for their dialogue. I am awesome at dialogue. Not even my internal critic has much to criticize about it.
So what do I do? Do I pick up one of the novels I started years ago and finish it? Do I think about taking a creative writing class and hope that someone can teach me how to write a decent description for once? Do I follow in the footsteps of a few authors and write as though it is emails and letters from one character to another? I actually really enjoy that style. Meg Cabot did it in two books and they made me laugh hysterically. Do I find a co-writer, present them with the plot and the dialogue and say “Hey, flesh this out for me?” I don’t know.
I do know that if I read one more poorly written novel by a best selling author, I may scream. I’m always trying to find new authors but sometimes that search makes me a little crazy.