22 June 2006

The Editor is In

Lately, I've been blessed with the opportunity to do developmental editing for some dear friends of mine. Each of them approached me, separately, with their brainchild, their creation, their work of.... fiction. Or not. =) Editing is a task of trust and faith. They trust that I will treat their baby kindly. I have faith that I can tell them what I really think without them freaking out. Each one of them wrote therapy. Their works were thinly-veiled references to themselves, their situations, their inner thoughts. And every one of them was horrified at how much of themselves they'd accidentally written into their "fiction". One of these folks, the Writer At Large, blogged about his reaction to this realization here. The rest of this post is my response to him... Your baggage shines through... but you know, that's part and parcel of your voice, the thing that makes it your writing, the thing that stamps your writing with your uniqueness. The only difference between fiction and self-indulgence is that fiction is publishable and self-indulgence, well, that's blogging. =) I have an entire readership over on my blog that's doing nothing more than reading about various facets of my personal baggage, brought out to the light of day, dusted off, given a bit of polish, and set up for commentary. The human drama is made of these little gems. And people deeply want to identify with them. They want to know that the upholstery inside your head matches the curtains they have in theirs. It makes the echoing vasty nothingness of reality seem a little friendlier, a little more populated. The thing that makes fiction superior to blogging is its generic-ness. When you're reading my blog, you're reading *me*, unequivocally. But when you're reading a story, that character could be anyone. Could be the author, could be the reader, could be the reader's neighbor; the neutrality of characterization allows people to pick up those drapings and try them on for size. It's an excellent psychological and metaphysical exercise. And it takes someone gifted to create that space and hold it, for their readers. So quit worrying about your slip showing. And just keep writing. =) =) =) ...and if you need an editor, well, you all know where to find me.


At 6/23/2006 09:40:00 AM, Anonymous Dana said...

It was a pretty cool discovery to see how much of one's self comes out in fiction, even if at the time it was painful. The whole experience has made me even more eager to write fiction, to see what other skeletons I can shake out on to the page:-)

The challenge, too, is that because fiction can take a year or more to write, by the time the ending of the book is reached, the writer has changed. So consistancy can be a challenge.

Writing is such a cool process.

At 6/27/2006 08:42:00 AM, Blogger SFWriter13 said...

It's pretty much an open secret that a lot of my writing projects are work therapy of one sort or another. (It does really make me wonder about the lives of horror and other genre writers, but that's a whole other matter.)

Lest The Elemental Mom thinks I've been slacking, I haven't. I've just been devoting the writing energies to other projects for a little while. Although focus is good, the main goal is a page a day. As long as I try to remain true to that, I think it's all good.

(And I agree with Dana about the changes that can happen in one's life during the course of a long writing project--like a novel. Perspective from a distance can be good, but it does play havoc with consistency.)


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