“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” – Proverbs 18:21
Langston Hughes spoke to me in his poem “A Dream Deferred.” Many other words, written and spoken, altered my chosen path on the highway of life.
A similar conversation happened on the phone recently. I took a class from WANA International, which I recommend to those looking for inexpensive ways to learn more about the craft of writing. Part of the price was a one-to-one telephone conversation with Kristen Lamb, founder of WANA and instructor for the class I took.
Anticipation of the call is a mild understatement. “MY WRITING JEDI MASTER IS GOING TO TALK TO ME ON THE PHONE AND WAVE HER LIGHT SABER OVER MY MANUSCRIPT AND IT WILL BE PERFECT.”
Have I mentioned what happens when we have high expectations? If so, it bears repeating. High expectations can only be dashed while low expectations might be met or exceeded.
Boy, that Kristen has a powerful light saber. She filled my ears with wonderful advice and my head with plausible options for the fantasy world I had created. My idea was good and the theme (once we found it) will be a powerful one.
Bottom line: scrap that manuscript.
Okay, there goes the months of writing and the weeks of revising. I knew there were problems. I begged her to reconsider and give me ways to fix my hours of blood, sweat and fears (not a typo).
The woman is a rock. “You don’t want Bond-o holding it all together,” not exactly Yoda-speak, but true nonetheless. The infrastructure was shaky and too many patch jobs were needed. In the end, it still might not be something that an agent would buy.
I pulled out Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and skipped the first 50 pages. Actually, I skipped directly to the plotting portion. I promise to go back on read about character and theme. After all, according to Brooks, there are six elements in successful fiction and I want to master them all.
At this point, my job at the school district is looking better and better. Oh, right. I quit and they’ve hired my replacement.
Fine. All those emails I get from Career Builder and indeed.com will lead me to a new job. Instead of writing, I’ll fill out some online applications and send out my resume.
Writing is the dream. I’ve deferred it for too many years to list here and maintain the façade surrounding my true age.
I knew it would be work. The learning curve is steep. I thought college coursework was difficult? Ha! This is Mt. Everest to that Bunker Hill.
Kristen believes I have the foundation and that I’ll do the work. To encourage me, she offered to give me some names of people who could read and blurb my book ONCE IT’S READY TO PUBLISH.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Master Yoda and Master Lamb, I bow to your knowledge of The Force. Time to get back to work writing.