Dead Slivers

January 15, 2007 at 7:16 pm (Attitude in Overdrive, Writing)

As my time in purgatory draws to a close, I have turned my attention back to writing. Not business profiles, but the variety of compelling storylines and hot sex. I have researched a few more publishing houses and I am … cautiously optimistic, but when am I not?

However, in reviewing my finished novella, it is again in need of an overhaul, not by much, but it could be better. It can always be better. The other needs to be finished, desperately. I still have your names in a file somewhere, those of you who promised so long ago to critique said literary masterpiece… *snort*

I read an article by Alice Hoffman, writer of “Practical Magic” and other well known novels, wherein she said, (paraphrased) – Like the people in our dreams are said to represent a different part of ourselves, so are the characters we write an extension of our personalities, a slice of who we are.

Oh yes, and it could not be more evident when one goes back and re-reads an old piece of fiction, only to find pieces of ourselves, shed like a snake’s skin, but still with all the poison. Yes, yes, like cicadas digging up from the ground, crawling, attaching, emerging, glowing, dying, leaving behind empty husks. So is reading old fiction and finding parts of yourself that you thought were dead.

It was depressing as I recognized old hurts and old yearnings, even more depressing when I realized that in fiction, I may write the happy ending. It’s the formula in romance, even erotic romance – happy ending – must have happy ending. In my real life, there aren’t really happy endings, not even a happy continuum.

I did download a mid-length novel to read. It had a “spicy/carnal” rating. I figured mine would fall somewhere in “spicy.” Ummm, no. My rating would definitely be “carnal,” the hottest of hot, especially since I had forgotten that “mild BDSM, tie you down, make you scream in ecstasy” part. Yes, that garners a “carnal” rating.

Honestly, the beginning storyline, while not ridiculous or unbelievable, was poorly executed. The amount of time it took the heroine to figure out what I figured out in the first chapter, was indeed, ridiculous. Then the storyline did morph into something unbelievable and melodramatic, far beyond what one would expect. I was disappointed and at once glad I had ordered two paperbacks of novella length stories to read in addition to the one I downloaded.

And one steamy sex scene. One. What the fuck? For real? This is erotica peeps! Did I pick the absolute worst novel to read out of the bunch? Where’s the tension? A bunch of innuendoes that go completely over the heroine’s head? Where’s the conflict? Full of conflict here, but not between the heroine and the hero until much later, and then its so short-lived there’s no nail biting or wondering what will happen. UGH!!

Oh look, writer turned critic.

Not meaning to pat myself on the back, and maybe because it is indeed so close to me that I can’t see the forest for the trees, but the sexual tension, the heartache, the conflict, is so palpable in my novella, hell, it made me cry when I re-read it and I’m the one who fucking wrote it. Yeah, I’m too close to it. Can’t see the flaws for the sentences.

I lived the emotions, sort of. I placed my heroine in a place I had never really been, but have been, just in a different way. And the ending, oh, could not be more different than real life… tied up, neat, issues resolved, living happily ever after. It must be fiction.

What a shame for a loving heart to become so cynical.

You expect your diary, poetry even, to be full of ghosts. I, however, did not expect to find some many dead slivers of myself in my fiction. Nor did I realize how cynical I had become. Smile darlings. In 16 days I shall be free of one purgatory, let us all hope its a fresh start to release myself from others.



  1. Vince said,

    Why does it need a happy ending? One of my favorite writers, Iain M Banks, does all kinds of unexpected thing, like killing off a hero, or having the bad guys win at the end. Make for surprising and refreshing reading. So don’t make it a happy ending just to fit a formula. If if fits the story, then fine. It’s kind of like music. You put into the song what the song needs to make it great, not necessarily what you want. If it don’t need a long crazy solo, don’t add it!

    I think any writing you do, regardless of the genre or literary form, always has a piece of you in it. How can it not? All we have to really draw on is personal experience. And in the end, that makes for the best characters and the best writing.

    Now go rock on with you bad self and do some kick ass work!

  2. Jen said,

    No matter what I read/watch… I always find some parrell with in my own life. If I can relate to it I somehow think about it more. Also I am one who enjoys an open ending, one that leaves you thinking, one that may not be happy happy at the end. I guess it makes it all that much more deep for me.

  3. Michael said,

    Stephen King said that too, that there’s a part of himself in all his characters, not just the protagonist. That includes the bad guys. I found that to be the fun part of my own writing — exploring the worst parts of me, personified as someone doing something I would never do (cause the good parts would prevent those evil deeds, balance it out). Don’t worry too much about what you’ve written in the past — have fun with the writing in the future.

  4. Seamus said,

    Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird also addresses the integration of ourselves into our characters, an occupational given I think.

    Awaiting finish of said masterpiece (since I know I’m on the list)! 😉

  5. Inanna said,

    Vince, I like the happy ending… maybe if I keep writing it, I’ll get it 😉

    Jen, Alice Hoffman leaves open ends laying around her novels too. Although it may look like a wrap up, it still leaves you wondering.

    Mikey, I like being evil in my books because I’m such an angel in real life *snort*

    Seamus, hey, you could read the other finished masterpiece. Think I’ll send it to you.

  6. Lois Lane said,

    I wish you all the best in your overhaul. It is one of the hardest parts about writing. I’ve deleted several chapters at a time, and OUCH!
    Your best bet is to not do what others are doing in their books. Keep yourself real and do what feels right. 🙂

  7. Inanna said,

    Or what feels good, Lo-Lo? That’s my favorite. 🙂

  8. Jeanette said,

    Don’t we all wish for a happy ending? But sometimes life, like stories, doesn’t swing that way. Hmph. Anyway, yeah, make it a happy ending if you can. 🙂

    Keep on keepin’ on! 🙂

  9. LisaBinDaCity said,

    I’m glad you have something wonderful to look forward to!

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