Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Process

I survived a very harrowing experience this week, to whit, my first beta reading of someone else's manuscript. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and only had a few minor content changes to suggest to the author. At that point, it was MOST embarrassing to learn that I had gotten a key plot concept wrong and it had led me to think things that were never the author's intent. On the plus side, my faux pas did prove useful to the author in that it allowed them the opportunity to re-look the manuscript and see if some things could be explained differently.

This got me reflecting on the whole process of writing. It reminded me just how difficult it can be to translate the fuzzy, indistinct concepts in our respective heads
into the next "greatest novel the world has ever known". It's tough isn't it? It is beyond challenging to take ideas that aren't even clear in our own minds and make someone else see them as the brilliant, entertaining master work that we all know that we have created. All of that reflecting led me to write a poem that I imagine that all of us writers can see just a bit of ourselves in.

The Process

I sit down at my keyboard in the wee hours of the night.
It seems the only time I get a chance to truly write.
When kids and job and daily chores are truly set aside
And all my thoughts are tumbling out instead of stored inside.

I've scarcely even started, though, before the conflicts start
And any plans I had of making progress fall apart.
I bang my head upon my desk because it's not my fault
But that is rather useless in forestalling their assault.

My MC doesn't like the scene I'm writing him in to
And claims that he will walk unless I write him somewhere new.
My ancillary characters all want a bigger role
And chant about their latest quest - to have rewrite control.

I bring to their attention that it's my choice they exist
And I could make them vanish in a nasty new plot twist.
But they know I've invested in them time and work and thought.
Their places in the plot line are secured and fairly bought.

Thus begins the latest round of my negotiations
Getting them to go back and resume their proper stations.
Wait to see what I have planned before they all revolt
Promising that they may like the finishing result.

I try to write them as they wish without a word of thanks
Keeping them from sneaking off 'round unprotected flanks.
Herding them this way and that through skillful turn of phrase
Hoping they remain where put and be content to graze.

Knowing it's because of them I've made it up to here
Daring not to let them loose lest they should disappear
Fencing every plot hole in to make them feel secure
Can't lose another chapter in the badlands of What Were.

At last I have them bedded down and resting in their stalls
And so I close the stable doors behind cerebral walls.
Tomorrow is another chance to guide them 'cross the range
A journey somewhat shorter now...but not a bit less strange. 


  1. I loved this! Very nice rhythm and flow to the words. And completely describes how the characters talk to us. Great job!


  2. Thanks for your continued support. It will earn you a FREE copy of my soon-to-be-released book of my collected poems