Tag Archives: sweet

Another thought on “perfection”

I should have a “perfection” category on my blog. I’ve had a lot of posts related to those. The reason is that I want things to be perfect in my writing, but I know I can’t have that.

I go to a monthly writer’s group where we often will write a short piece and share it with the group, get feedback on it, etc. We keep the writing under 2,000 words, so it’s a nice easy writing exercise, at least for me. I love short pieces. But in the month between when we decide what we’re going to write, and when I actually share it with the group, I probably read and edit it at least three or four times. I go to the group and share it, hoping to get lots of good feedback and suggestions on how to improve it and most often what I get is this kind of stunned silence and a general, “That’s really good” comment. It sometimes frustrates me because I look at it and see all the problems. That’s my biggest stumbling block when it comes to publishing stories. I keep reworking them because I never feel like they’re perfect.

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I recently had an incredible experience in regards to this. One of my writing friends, Julia Ward, just published her first book. Every writer talks about how their novel is their baby. Well if Julia’s novel was her baby, I was the novel’s Auntie. I was there through the writing stage of the book, the editing stage of the book, the “why did I write this? It’s awful!” stage of the book, the “Oh wait, there are a few funny parts. Actually, this is pretty good,” stage of the book and finally the, “Holy crap, I’m just about to hit the publish button!” stage of the book. Through the whole thing, I saw that endless struggle for perfection, that endless self-doubt that she would ever be able to reach it. It was the same kind of feeling I had when working on my first novel, the same kind of doubt that it would be any good.

When the novel came out, I picked up my copy and started reading. It was cute, it was fun, it was funny. It wasn’t perfect, but I really didn’t care. I enjoyed it, and I was glad I had it to read. And it made me realize that, yes, I strive to make my novel the best it can be, and that struggle makes it such a much more enjoyable read to someone else, but I will never get it perfect, and I don’t need to, because people want to be transported to some other world, some other life, and as long as the imperfections aren’t extremely distracting, they’re happy to read what has been written.

If you’re interested in Julia’s debut novel, go check it out It really is a great read. (And I’m not biased, being the novel’s Auntie.)

Have fun, and enjoy the writing.

Bitter-sweet

I took a few days off from my blog because I was…gasp…being an author. Or, becoming one, at least.

This last weekend I finished my revisions for my debut novel that will be coming out soon. Then I sent it to my editor and got started on my next book. Before I get completely lost in a new and exciting world, I thought I should stop by my blog and talk about endings.

As I finished up my revisions for my debut novel, and used my baby’s favorite blanket as my personal tear-catcher, I realized that I have a–well, I’m not sure what to call it. A problem? A habit? A preference? Anyway. I like a little bit of bitter in my semi-sweet endings. Just like a lovely dark chocolate.

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Yum.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Don’t even get me started on all those novels I had to read in my Spanish Literature classes where no one ever got the girl and half the people ended up dead or destitute. No. I am not a sad ending kind of girl.

However, something all that Spanish Literature taught me was that sadness can be truly poignant. That tugging, aching feeling you get in your chest when you REALLY don’t want that character to die, but you KNOW he must! That breathless, tear-jerking moment when everything is (finally) all better, but it’s just not the same. It’s never the same. Because we Lost something so very important in the midst of those heart-wrenching pages of the novel.

I love it.

If an ending can make me close the book or sit at the credits at the end of a movie and make me sit there and think for several minutes about whether or not I’m happy about what happened, then I usually get a smile on my face.

Unless it’s one of those movies that just makes me want to say…

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So, I’ll ask for your comments later on, but right now I want to talk about my favorite and least favorite endings.

For my favorite ending, I have to go with Push I love the twist, the tragedy, the somewhat open-endedness of the plot, and every time I watch it I wonder, “Why didn’t they ever make a sequel?” And then I realize, “Oh yeah. Because Chris Evans became filthy rich doing all sorts of other super hero movies, and Dakota Fanning got too old to be the cute 12-year-old who likes to drink.”

As far as an ending that might go too bitter in that bitter-sweet concoction is the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. I haven’t read the book yet, and that’s probably because of the reaction I always have to the movie. Basically, every time I get to the end of that movie I sit there while the credits roll and ask myself over and over, “Am I depressed? I think I’m depressed. Was that happy, or…kind of sad? I think that was sad. Like. Really sad. I don’t know if I can watch that again.” Which of course means I have watched it two or three times, and still get to the end asking myself those very same questions. The last time I watched it I decided I pretty much know it makes me sad, and too sad for me to want to suffer through it again. So I’m sorry, Time Traveler’s Wife, but we can’t have any sort of ongoing relationship.

Funny, though, I just realized that my favorite and least favorite movie both came out in 2009.

So what about you? Do you love those bittersweet endings, or are you ready for the author to just pour on some sugar at the end so you can go to bed knowing that everyone ate dessert? Or do you go the other way? Are you a Spanish Literature-type fan, who thinks dessert should be spelled with one S, and everyone should be dying of thirst and have nothing to eat but sand when we read the words The End? Let me know in the comments below, and…hey, why not. Let’s do a spoiler alert. What’s your favorite ending? What’s your least favorite ending? We can go with movies or books.

Have fun, and enjoy the writing.