Sunday, December 7, 2008

That's why

When I gave birth to our daughter, even though I was on the quiet side, and was never, ever, ever like women who tell their husbands not to touch them again, I did wonder, after twenty-six hours, how women go through it more than once. I did, yes I did, think I might be able to get by on one child. Four children later, I can tell you it’s horse-you-know-what that you forget the pain (I can describe it today). But you start to accumulate so much on the benefit side of the equation that sooner or later you think, “The pain, well, yes. But they have tiny parts of you, and tiny parts of him, and they smell great and they adore you and they have those knuckle-less hands. Okay, let’s.”

This is what it’s like when you finish the draft of a novel and know you have to start the agonizing rewrites. It’s the labor. You’ll have to fire some characters, or at least bring out their motivation. You may have to line through whole sections to allow a breakthrough the room it needs to grow. “This hurts. I’ll just do this one book and be done.” Sooner or later, your book gets knuckles and there you are saying, "Wouldn't it be funny if four old guys had a contest to see who could get arrested first?" Chapter One.

In the meantime, several questions bubble up during the tedious and exhilarating stage of revising, some to ignore, some to consider, among them: “What is the audience for this? Why does this matter?” If you are in the wrong kind of mood it’s only a short hop over to: “Why am I doing this?” and then you know it’s time to make a tin foil ball and play hockey with the cat.

Or, read someone else on the subject. I’m blog robbing, but from Janet Reid’s site, I was directed to Murderati where I read this, something which affected me so deeply, I wound up staring out the window like a character in my women’s fiction of olde. Sometimes it isn’t why you write, but for whom. And it isn't because of what writing does to change your life, but maybe someone else's.

A timely epiphany, Sunday is almost over and Monday rewrites await.


  1. Why did you delete your other most-recent post? I liked it!

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