Monday, October 25, 2010

It wasn't the story that needed to change...

Been mightily distracted by the horrible state of affairs regarding the filming of The Hobbit over the last week. I wish I could convey to Warner Brothers Studios how much keeping these movies in New Zealand means to so many people here. I am shocked that the actions of a shortsighted few people can have devastating consequences for thousands of people. What did they think was going to happen? What arrogance to imagine their own interests would be automatically embraced by the rest of the acting, film making, and general communities. And why these films? The sad thing is that its blown up in their faces but the fallout is the size of our whole country. Sigh. Sad times.

On a completely different note I was thinking some more about the whole 'flogging a dead horse' issue. You definitely do not want to be spending precious time and energy going over and over and over the same story that may never be the one as far as a publisher is concerned. As a writer you have to find some litmus test for yourself that says a story is finished. I trust my gut instinct (and am generally like to err on the side of slightly underdone anyway - like a good medium rare steak - slightly blushing on the inside). Maybe you need to limit the number of drafts any story can go through. Find what works for you, but acknowledge that the polishing process is never-ending if we let it be. There are things I would change about most of my stories in print (although I am at least content with most of my short stories) but they were publishable without that extra titivation.

On the other hand sometimes it takes a long time to find the right home for a story. This is not about polishing and re-polishing the story until it shines with a blinding light. This is about keeping the faith that your story is good and sending it out despite previous rejections. We've all heard the story about how many times the first Harry Potter book was rejected before Bloomsbury took the risk. Its happened to me too, on a somewhat smaller scale of course. But there was no questioning the enthusiasm of the publisher for my manuscript. And it wasn't that I edited the story after previous rejections - the story stayed the same. It wasn't the story that needed to change.


Old Kitty said...

Good luck New Zealand with keeping The Hobbit filmed there!!!

Oh about flogging the dead horse and/or editing to death...I'm completely inside out upside down about this!! LOL!!

I've never felt more strongly about my current WIP but it's taken me years and various re-drafting and editing and sending out (and failing miserably!!) to get to this stage where critique buddies are finally saying that I've got something - finally!! A glimmer of hope!! Even I can see a tiny spark where before there was none! LOL! But yes the proof of the pudding is in being accepted by the publishing world I guess.
:-) The wip may finally be coming together but will anyone want to publish it?!!? If not then all that effort has been for nowt and maybe I shouldn't have pursued it with such vigour and zeal and maybe I'm really just deluding myself!

Wow, my head hurts! LOL!!

Take care

Melinda Szymanik said...

Kitty, don't lose heart. Sadly the publishing world doesn't always get it right :) and should never be the only arbiter of our ability to write. Your faith in your story sounds like its based on your intuition and the improving feedback of others which are legitimate measures! You say it yourself - you can see a spark where there wasn't one before - you've obviously grown as a writer over time. Its the folk who never progress in any sense that are potentially astride the equine corpse.