by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com]
I used to believe that I could write well enough that people would want to read what I had written. I suppose that might be true to some extent. I have spent many years learning the craft of writing, reading the works of other authors, examining their styles and story constructions, and then I would sit down and try to write something that worked as well. Rarely did it ever do that in the beginning, but lately, I have found the solutions to many of the shortcomings of my writing. I have since had a novel published, I have a publisher looking at a second novel, and I am furiously working on the third. I feel as if I have achieved a significant benchmark in my life.
But then there is this sinking feeling I get whenever I read a new novel, one that has received glowing accolades and has even been on the New York Times bestseller list. Once in a while I find a gem of a book with well-crafted prose and structure, and a writing style that makes me wonder why I can’t write like that. Of course, I don’t find many books like that, since much of the bestsellers are mediocre at best and reflect little in the way of original and though provoking prose. They are written to sell, not to impress the reader with their literary qualities. That is just as well, because not many of them have little literary quality.
The more I read, the more I realized that there are far more bad books that there are really good ones. I consider a good book one that makes you want to be a part of the story. It makes you think about the story and the characters. That’s the way I try to write, although I know I fall far short, most of the time.
And my writer’s group never fails to make sure I’m aware of it. But even when I have something that I believe is as near perfect as I can get it, I read it later to wonder why I did what I did. Then I make it better. But how many times can you do that?
After I had rewritten my first manuscript ten times, I figured it was time to get rid of it. That’s when I approached a publisher and away it became a novel. I still haven’t found that point at which you stop rewriting. I guess you wait until you’re sick of it then move on. In the meantime, I’m still searching…