My goal here is simple: to improve our writing. And the only way to achieve that is, you guessed it, actually writing. Gulp! I know. Writing is tedious and freeing. It is daunting and exhilarating. It is lonely and welcoming. It is unpleasant and magnificent. Of all professions, writing has been found to be the single most harrowing, rewarding, heart-wrenching, and life-affirming craft ever recorded* (*supporting statistics pending).
But despite the contradictory nature of this art, there is one universal truth at its core: writing improves writing. Through this blog, I will take you along on my own writing journey, and together—yes, I am depending on you to help me help you—we will fail, learn, and grow. And with enough hard work, stubborn persistence, and a lot of writing, we will earn the experience, skill, and confidence necessary to do justice to those stories begging to be put to paper.
To show you how serious I am about this, let me do something insane—let me show you my opening paragraphs from the first draft of my (in progress) novel Deti:
Lane refused to acknowledge the fresh welts on her arms begging her to surrender. She would not let mere physical pain dissuade her from finally defeating her mother, Lydia. It was true that her mother had already countered everything Lane had thrown at her, the results being the numerous welts decorating her arms and legs. However, Lane still had one trick left—her deti strength. The tactic had yet to succeed in any of their previous fights. But this time, if she bullied Lydia with an unrelenting frontal assault, she had no doubt that she would overcome her mother’s defenses.
Lane curled her fingers around the hilt of her wooden sword, and Lydia shifted her feet into a more defensive stance. Summoning her entire strength, Lane slashed at her mother’s head. Lydia dodged but gave no hint that she was going to counter. Yet Lane yelped in pain as her mother’s sword unexpectedly lashed out and bit into her forearm. Lane dropped her blade onto the wood floor and fell to her knees, clutching her arm. Lydia’s sword made contact three more times, none of them gentle.
From that excerpt, it is clear why I decided to put the novel aside and focus on getting my writing where my story demanded it to be. I pored over books with a critical eye, wrote short story after short story, and always pushed myself to learn. A year later I came back to Deti and have restarted from page one. This is what I have thus far:
Twisting rivers, digging valleys, and shaping mountains were simple things for Vular. Its ambros was a thousand years old and the most powerful of all deti, allowing complete mastery over the world. All Vular had to do was breathe, focus, and allow its ambros to take over. Simple. Easy. But since the attack—since becoming Lane Green—her ambros had gone dormant, unusable. Yet every day she tried to awaken it. Today was no exception. All she had to do was breathe, focus, and let her ambros interact naturally with her environment.
Her jaw tightened involuntarily. She shook her head. Patience. It had been less than two decades since her ambros turned quiet. After what she went through, it likely wouldn’t return to strength for a hundred years. She simply had to practice inhaling, concentrating, and altering her surroundings as she pleased.
She clenched her teeth. A hundred years. There was no guarantee of that. After a forced regeneration there was a real possibility her ambros would never return; sixteen years of beating her head against a never progressing wall proved that assessment. Her nostrils flared as she sucked in air and thrust her will upon the world, demanding it to change.
Her hands slapped the ground in frustration as her eyes opened. The damp soil, chin-high grass, and towering trees all appeared as they had before today’s practice begun. Another failure. Another day as Lane Green.
So, how about it? Let’s finish this novel. Let’s improve our writing. Let’s do this together.
Follow me on twitter @beginning_write for daily updates regarding this journey!
New blog posts will be published weekly.