Not many people know this but I’m currently taking a writing class. It occurred to me in December that although I’ve got my English degree and technically it’s with a writing emphasis, I didn’t really ever take a creative writing course from anyone. As my friend Michael said to me this weekend, an English major makes you a good reader, but not necessarily a good writer. Not to imply that I don’t write well. I think I do blogging just fine and if you need a college essay, you could do worse than follow my advice.
My own creative output has been scattered. Little sprinkles of good stuff here and there amongst a sea of dreck. Though I can glean a great deal from the mountain of writing books out there, it would be nice to have someone who knows what their doing point you in the right direction. So I’m taking the class.
As a part of the class, you need to put a small sample of your writing up for others to critique. The teacher will then give you a big overview and some advice. So I did that.
And I got the advice. And I read the advice and got a bit depressed. Not that the teacher was wrong, hell no. He was right and pointed out a lot of the flaws that sat in the back of my head while I was writing it. I’m just curious why I didn’t do anything about it sooner, or changed my writing. I’m tormented by the fact that fixing it requires an entire rewrite. Not only that, I will have to kill off some of my favorite bits about the story.
As Faulkner said, “kill your darlings”…and it’s absolutely true in this case. I have to kill my first paragraph which I was so proud of writing. I have to rewrite the whole in a way that moves a bit better. I need to work in details I missed in the first pass, cut out details that are meaningless I initially wrote.
But it’s the right thing to do. Doing it will be difficult, but necessary. Writers do this all the time…it doesn’t get any easier though.