Philippa Said

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Take That, World

A friend’s daughter recently published a short story. I ended up with it in hand to read. It wasn’t her first. She’s been published about a dozen times.

Oh, how the urge to edit pulsed through me as I read it. My inner writer was shaking his head. The story was wooden, with passive verbs, a weak concept, and slow pacing. There was much telling, then showing what’d been told, and then sometimes told again.

I was dismayed and baffled. This was my take, but this was a recently published short story. This must be what editors like.

Novels that were recently published that I’d read were recalled. With many designated as bestsellers, I often thought the writing was clumsy, particularly in the early chapters, but they knew how to tell a story, and that came through in the end. Of course, there were a few where the writing was sublime. Those tend to be the award winners.

Yes, I know, every reader brings their a unique set of expectations, and finds their own story from what the writer offered. My take will be different from what others find and enjoy. Yet, something like the things I found that I wanted to edit seem like the basics of strong writing.

I concluded, I’m out of step with what’s wanted and desired in the writing and publishing world — and the reading world — and probably destined to be so forever. Accepting that, I’ll resign myself, again, to writing for myself and trying to improve my writing.

Take that, world.

Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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