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Mar 23, 2009

Parable of the Pedestal



I've done it again.

I've put my story on a pedestal. A shiny, glowy Roman column of a pedestal, representing the pinnacle of literary grace, depth and passion. A place quite out of reach for a writer of my meager talents.

My story is too good for me. I don't deserve it. I might as well give up on it now, because it's obvious I will never earn the right to even shine the boots of my story. My story contains a glimmer of the empyrean, it tinkles with chimes from the music of the spheres. I, on the other hand, am an eyeless, earless invertebrate lacking any capacity to translate the transcendent notes of my story into a form comprehensible to normal mortals. I suck.

There is a solution. I will wait to write this story until I have mastered a style which is more complex, more mature.

In the meantime, I will start another story, a B Class story, which is humbler, simpler, more appropriate for my lowly talents. I won't aim high with this story, I won't put Story B on a pedestal, I promise. I won't even try to have it published. I'll just write it for my own amusement, and for my own education. Story B will be my practice. It will train me to write Story A.

But Story B has hidden charms I didn't see at first. I was too shallow; Story B is exquisite. Story B deserves so much more than I realized. Story B should be polished and perfected, not simply shoved full of garbage and dumped at the curve like a plastic trash liner.

Story B deserves a pedestal too.

I can reach it. Just not yet. I'm not good enough.

Story C....



18 comments:

Davin Malasarn said...

Ha ha. I think you should write story A. Always try to write story A. You will probably fail because I think every writer probably fails from what they are trying to do. But, you will get better through the effort and a new story A will emerge and you should try to write that one even if it's better than you. Your failures will become better and better and other people will see them as successes even if you don't.

Lisa and Laura said...

I totally agree with Davin. Just write story A and then edit the hell out of it! You can do it!!

Windsong said...

*confidence cookies*

Get back in the ring. You can do it! Without you, that beautiful story of transcendant glory would only be a wisp of a dream floating around in the nethersphere. It's because of you that the story has a voice at all. :D

ban said...

tara ... my thoughts exactly ...

PurpleClover said...

I vote for A. I thought for the longest time I didn't want to write my AWESOME story yet because I wasn't a good enough writer and if I wrote it it would just suck and then I would have wasted a good story line.

But then I realized after reading many writer's blogs that their first, second and third stories...didn't always sell until their fourth or fifth one sold. And then and only then did they go back and get the first or second sold. BUT had they waited that long and wrote mediocre stories in the meantime that they didn't plan on publishing, they could be waiting an eternity.

Write the story you are passionate about...give it the time it needs to progress into a masterpiece and while you are querying...move on to the next one.

You can always go back to it years later and read it to see if you can spot the reason it didn't get pub'd. But at least you don't have to waste the time again writing the whole thing. ;)

Annie said...

What a well-told story about telling stories! And I agree, I have some novels floating around that I think will be epic and awesome, but not just yet.
I guess the important thing is to just keep working on all of them. They'll eventually be awesome through work and time.

candicekennington said...

Every story ends up like this. You delve into it swim around a bit and realize the possibilities that were lying just under the surface. This should be exciting, but often it does end up making us feel inadequate as writers. I have wished so many times for the ability to transfer the magic of the story in my head to the page. Most of the time I just get a watered down version. But every once in a while there is that scene that I get just right and it makes it all worth it!

scott g.f. bailey said...

Wow, do I know this special hell. There has not been a single story I've written for which I have felt worthy. "I'm not a good enough writer to do this justice," I tell myself. "I should write something less significant, less in need of a real artist." But the thing is, and I know you know this, we have to just buck up and write the stories with the craft we have, else the stories will never be written, and we'll never write anything at all. That would, you know, really suck.

I have an idea for a book that I have put off until I've written another, "easier" book first, because I'm "not ready" for the other book yet. Which is total bollocks. We only grow as writers by writing things that are hard to write. So let's go grow as writers, already.

Cindy said...

My story A scares me breathless. I always say after Story B, then it's after Story C and yet I yearn to immerse myself in Story A. I say go for it! Some of the greatest masterpieces come out of those challenges you think are too far out of your reach.

Lady Glamis said...

Oh my goodness! I agree with Davin. Just write Story A and give it the life it deserves. We can never live up to the highest expectations of ourselves, but you must try. Don't back down.

JES said...

Nothing good ever comes of flighty attentions. What are you, some kind of philandress of stories? :)

Go with A. By the time you get around to B you'll be much better equipped to exploit those hidden charms. And yeah, then when you're done with B you might want to glance back at A just to be sure you took in all the pleats properly.

And I wonder... I bet no one's first story is ever one's best. So putting it off can't help much, can it?

(Loved this whole analogy btw.)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Ha!

Stick with story A until it's done. One of the hardest parts about writing a novel is getting it done. That's why so many people WANT to write a novel and never actually do. You can edit it and make it better, or you can move on to story B. But finish it.

Dominique said...

I say jump right in. Jump, jump now, into whichever story you feel like the most. it doesn't even have to be Story A (yes, be a maverick.) Start with Z if needs be. Just write the stories you have in you. Don't worry about being worthy. Act as if ye have faith and faith will be given to you. Fake it 'til you make it.

Dominique said...

Also, I heard someone say confidence cookies. Where can I get some of those?

Tara Maya said...

Yum, yum! :P

lotusgirl said...

So true. Just write story A and do the best you can with it. The more layers you do the better it will get. Edits is where it's at, Baby.

Natalie said...

Ah, I so understand this Tara! It's that siren call of the next idea when you're knee deep in the middle of a novel. It's hard...you want to just move on. So been there. Several times.

There will always be a pedestal. There will always be that next idea. And you will always be smack dab in the middle. Arg.

Anonymous said...

I think I know you, Tara - Story A is not really better than Story B or C - everything you touch will have your magic in it - you just havent given the same thought to Story B as you have to A. So I say, write B - the key is that you are writing. B will be as worthy of a pedestal as A is, and who knows, maybe B will deserve a crystal pedestal.