One of my friends read "The Warrior Finds Peace" and gave me some feedback.
His comments helped me a lot. He said (in a nut shell), "I liked it. If you edit one scene it would make a good teen book. But there's something missing that I can't put my finger on."
This friend is the kind of guy who sees books as alive. To him, each book is its own person with a complete history and purpose in existence. To him, books are not just stories wound in letters and bound in pulp. So when he tells me my book is missing something, I have to listen.
After talking with him for a while I came to some conclusions. My friend's comments made me stop and think about my writing style. I realized that I rush when I write. I try to get as much of the story out as I can, as quickly as I can and that frenzied feeling comes through in the work as a lack of depth which editing doesn't seem to help. I need to find patience. I need to relax when I write.
I need to find a way to spend time with every scene and every character. I have to be careful, because I think my natural voice is a bit harried, perhaps I don't want to lose that, but I do need to find a balance.
I've talked about the writer's brush before. I don't know if other writers have referred to it so if I've ripped someone off, please accept my apologies. Until now my writer's brush has been too narrow. I need to paint in more of the scene when I write. I don't think its good for me to try to back fill during editing. I need to be more careful with my brush and more deliberate. This is not an easy lesson, but I'm going to give it my all.
There is one other thing which I think is missing from my writing. Put simply: its heart. I think I write too much from my head. My character is naturally empathetic and I think that's missing from my writing.
One of the first experiences that lead me to believe that perhaps I could write happened in one of my high school English classes. Our teacher told us to write any story about anything. He gave us complete freedom. (a lot of my classmates hated the assignment, I loved it) I chose to write some fiction about a boy who was waiting on a dock to meet a father he'd never known. Its a story about his trepidation and excitement. The pages I wrote the story upon were lost in a flood but earned me an A before I stuck it in that old toy box. It was one of a very few A's I would ever earn in any class. My laziness or perhaps I should call it a lack of mindfulness made me not care about school. So an A stands out and made me contemplate writing. In college I got an idea for a story about time travel. Its my first novel. It sucks and I had so much fun writing it, I can't begin to tell you.
If I compare my current writing with that first short story, today's stories lack the depth of that story. Sure it was really badly hand written on yellow lined paper with terrible spelling, punctuation and sentence structure, but the story itself lives. That story focused on the boy's feelings and I projected myself into him and let him bleed all over the pages. His life had been hard, his childhood confusing, and that showed through in the work. The emotion made the work compelling. A story is not just a series of happenings, it is also how people feel, react, and cope with the experiences. I need to let that shine through now.
I love to think about my stories but I suspect I need to put less thought and more feeling into my writing. Feeling comes naturally to me. I consider myself empathetic and empathic. Perhaps I need to feel more of the story before I write it down. Perhaps I need to project into my characters more.
I've decided to put aside my blogging and the sci-fi I've been working on to try to write a new story. I'm going to write a series of articles on Redroom to tell the new story for you guys and gals to peruse.
Its about time I return to writing from my heart. I used to feel a need to hide my heart away. I fail at that miserably in reality, but perhaps I succeed in keeping it out of my writing. Perhaps I can change that.
I don't know if this will bring the life to my stories that my friend seems to think is missing, but its worth a shot.
The great thing about having a hyperactive imagination is: I'll always have another story to write if I screw this one up.
Let me make a title for it on the spot: "Benny's Roller coaster Ride: or How I Met My Deceased Father." by Benny Bingham.
I'll post a blog entry with a link to the first chapter Article when its done. Apologies in advance: I intend to write it, edit it and perhaps even ask my brilliant cousin to go over it for me so it may be a while before I get ball rolling.
Causes Brian McKee Supports
I support the cause of peace via peaceful means.