This fiction writing workshop might kill me. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it might kill my vision of myself as a writer. Once upon a time (obviously in my fairy tale world), I thought I had a talent for writing. I was told that the more I read, the better I would write. I’m having a hard time believing either of these things for several reasons.
I’ve read young adult fantasy for more than 10 years and with voraciousness the past two. This doesn’t make it any easier for me to write my first YA fantasy novel. In fact, my characters seem too perfect or not conflicted enough, according to the professor (a published author) and my fellow workshoppers.
I had to redo an assignment. I know! The thought of it is – unthinkable! My short story synopsis didn’t have a theme and the plot and conflict were weak. This could be because it was one scene from the fourth chapter of the novel I’m working on. Or it could be because I stink at writing. What’s your vote? I’m sure you can decipher what mine is – Pee-Yew!
Even though I can hardly think of anything else but this story, the words aren’t flowing out of my fingertips onto the page. I begin to type and my inner critic screams so loudly that my brain can’t get the message to my fingers. This isn’t a block. I think it might be a message. Maybe from someone Higher Up than even my delightful inner critic.
My writing ability is better than half the people in my critique group and it looks like child’s play when compared with the other two writers. Needless to say, they are the two who I want to like what I write. Do I need to tell you what they think of my writing? It has potential – but right now it’s weak. Aren’t I too old to write so poorly? Especially since I’ve dreamed of being a writer since fourth grade?
I’m sick of getting nowhere. I wrote a whole novel, revised it and sent it out only to get rejected. Twice. There wasn’t any feedback which I’m told means the editors didn’t think my writing style (or the story idea) had potential. When I look at that novel now, I see many of its flaws – too perfect main character, too many tangents, not enough emotion, conflict too shallow.
I feel too old to keep feeling so insecure. I used to think I was confident enough to do what I knew was right no matter what. Then I started writing and people started criticizing it (and this is supposed to make me a better writer, which I’m open to) and I just wanted to run away. What that looks like: me reading a book written by someone else. More specifically, me reading a fantasy novel written by someone younger than me that I felt was pretty good, but not perfect. Shouldn’t that give me hope?
As usual, you just get to listen to me while. Come tomorrow morning, I will probably rewrite (yes, that means start from scratch) the story for the workshop. It will be my third rewrite. Will the third time be the charm?