To any creative being, there’s a personal attachment one has with their work. This element, at times, cannot be thoroughly explained. Which is why criticism— most often a welcomed part of any creative process— can sometimes be taken as an affront; even from those with the best intentions.
After a lot of pride swallowing, I revisited a manuscript I’d once published. I knew it wasn’t as polished as it could’ve been, but at the time I was going through a crisis (contrived drama which only could be inspired by a creative being) where I needed to have it “out there” by a certain point in my life. It wasn’t successful for a number of reasons; one of which was the content. Though the core of the narrative was there it was verbose, and then had too may words that came off as pretentious more than it was in any way clever. I was misguided in a lot of my transitional exposition, because I rushed myself to the best bits (as to why, I cannot explain). I liken it to my Superman II fiasco.
However, I’ve been able to make it right. Since wiping that version from the face of the Interwebs (although I’m sure it could be found) and— like an old house with good bones and in a great neighborhood— have reworked it from the studs up. One part that has been the litmus test of my retooling is the prologue. When viewing the original version, I noticed that I went on for several pages in what could’ve got done in a few paragraphs; equating to a page and a half tops. The latest version was everything that I could’ve ever wanted to say without literally saying it.
Stories are like a guided tour you take the reader on. And inasmuch as you’d like for them to all be pointed out (and therefore marvel at) each and every detail each and every time, sometimes they’re better served at discovering them (or not) on their own. You throw an aside or two into the main storyline (which should, in itself, be engaging), but you don’t ever try and be so bold as to presume digressing far and wide… and often. That throws people off, and further insults their intelligence.
I have learned, and I am humbled.
It may be able to work for the likes of George R. R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien, but I am neither of those wordsmiths. Furthermore, I am still refining the craft (now, if I would just humble myself further and learn to type properly…). I believe on the backend of my novel in question— which I’ve yet to get to, in my quest for completing revision number… 8 I think— there are still some questionable choices to be corrected. I know that, in my craze to have my novel contain (for some inexplicable reason) a meaty word count, I added an entirely new sequence that’s right on the cusp of working. I still have to find a way of trimming more “fat” from the work, as I’m currently in the neighborhood of 120k words. (*Fun Fact* The work when originally published was half that.)
I love that I love to write. I have to will myself not to feel as though this one story, of the many I have, is my only shot. Some of my kindred wordsmiths were reported to have written thousands of words that would never see the light of day. Sometimes, like I’m teaching my daughter, not everything in your head needs to be said. Time that I very much practice what I preach.
Or, put it in this wasteland that anyone hardly ever visits…