Sunday, April 10, 2011

Eternal 'Backspace' Bar

I finished reading the talk by D. Todd Christofferson 'As Many as I Love, I Chasten'.

Wow. If I had heard this talk two years ago, I would have felt picked on. I don't like to have my faults pointed out. I get a leeeeeetle bit defensive.
Yeah....Not Fun Stuff.

However. Now I have entered into the world of writing and writers and critiques (as I prepare for the world of agents and editors and query letters and rejections). And its all about the crit. Critique group, critique buddy, beta readers. This is a profession that seeks to be critiqued.


To become better.

Because we are all so close to our own work, our own words. We don't notice that typo or that grammar faux pas or that comma that sneakily jumped in to replaced a period.
And because we have read the same typos a dozen times while trying to be sure the words portray the beauty of our internal vision, they go unnoticed.

When we reread our work, we ( or more correctly I....I don't know how you all do it...but I definitely get...) so wrapped up in the story that we/I have labored months over and worked so carefully to develop each new and unfurling sentence, that those mistakes, those grammar transgressions become invisible.
I can no longer see them. 
I have become blind to my own beam.

But, hallelujah, someone else can see it more clearly than I! And if I/we can find a person who is a good critiquer (is that a word?), then our bacon is saved. The faults are pointed out candidly and encouragement is given honestly. And now, I have a new vision of my work. I can see the faults I missed before and as I correct them, I am led to other portions that frankly needed a bit of polishing as well.

But why the huge concern on polishing a bunch of words that are "just fine really"? Why put yourself through that torment, that gruesome ordeal of having someone else rip your heartfelt prose to shreds.

Because 'My mom thinks its really good' doesn't sell. 

'Pretty good' won't get you published.

And isn't that what we want? To have our dream, our words, put out there in the wide world to be read and digested and shared.

But what does that mean for my life?

It means I am seeking to find the typos, the blips, the grammar slips and the gosh-darned superfluousness purple prose that just needs to be cut. I want to see more clearly what I really need to change so I can make my life and my writing cleaner, tighter, more moving. 

I thank God for the Eternal 'Backspace' Bar, the gift of repentance through my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Because this is just my rough draft and there is a whole lot of stuff that needs to be removed and some awfully good stuff I want to add to my character and my plot.

I'm so glad he's willing to coach me through the changes I need to make every day, every week.

Because when I meet my Editor someday, I want to present to him a clean copy of my manuscript. 

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