Thursday, September 2, 2010

More than Meets the Eye

For my son's fourth birthday, my husband bought him Transformers. Yes, I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to transform Optimus Prime into a truck. (When at first I told a horrified husband that I could not transform Octavius, he asked, "What is he? A Roman?") And yes, I still can't figure it out. And YES, there is a writer's analogy attached to this Autobot.

I think you all know what I mean when I use the terms "word tinkering." You know, when you sit in front of the same paragraph for two hours adding and mixing and taking away words until it sounds and looks just right? (If you don't know what I'm talking about you're not invited to my blog.) (I was just kidding. Come back. I only have 133 followers. I need you.)

And I was thinking about how before I started writing, I had no idea how much went into each sentence and paragraph and scene and chapter AND BOOK construction. I mean, you just don't know until you are sweating over the words yourself HOW HARD it is to transform them into something that comes off the page and paints a picture or inspires an emotion or makes you love a character.

I read once that once you start writing, you'll never read the same again. And it's true. There is so much more effort behind those words than I ever, ever knew. (Unless you are a genius, and the words just come out perfect the first time for you. In which case, YOU are not invited to my blog.)

(Okay, come back.)


  1. It's true! The struggles aren't clear to those who haven't tried writing. Assumptions are aplenty, though.

    Great post!

  2. You are so right. A great book is 80,000 +/- perfect words in the perfect order. No extra words, no missing words. When it all comes together it's a wonderful thing, but it's so much work! And you're right that I will never, ever read a book the same way again.

  3. No worries - I'm still welcome here on both counts. ;)

    My husband keeps telling me that no matter how much time I spend on it, my book will never be perfect. He's probably right, but it doesn't stop me from obsessing.

  4. Janna-No kidding. I used to have that silly assumption after reading a book that "I can write a book just like this!" or even worse "I can write a book BETTER than this!" Yes, I'm much smarter now.

    Melissa-(See Myrna's comment.) Yes, I'm always striving for the perfect words, but I think I can go over and over and over my manuscript, and I'll always want to change things. It will never be perfect...and that's soooo frustrating.

    Myrna-See above.

  5. Big Transformers fan here. (The Old School variety, not this new stuff.)

    Just thought I'd share that.

    Anyway . . . great post!