I’m not good enough to write like that.

I’m not good enough to experiment with a character’s stream of consciousness or write page-long metaphors or create dialogue with two meanings or, hey, onomatopoeia (especially since it took me three tries to spell it right).

It’s frustrating because I feel like a little kid with a box of crayons, trying to draw the smooth lines of a beautiful (haunted) house. I have the house pictured in my mind, but my newbie-writer, kid-coordination is at that stubborn stubby finger stage, and all that ends up on the paper are uncontrolled streaks of color.

Eh, what the heck, if a typical first novel goes through seven to thirteen drafts, I’ve got a few more drafts to go. I don’t have to have confidence in what I write early on. Whatever colorful scribbles I put on the page now I can easily cut later if I need to. It’s a learning exercise.

A couple of recent scribbles:

Borse Benett is drunk as a skunk and racing home on foot to rescue his mother when three women in a pickup truck give him a ride. The amber-eyed woman behind the wheel has the mannerisms of a serial killer. (Um, the following is probably NSFW.)

Borse tumbled into the truck bed and felt motion sick before the pickup even started rolling. He clutched the side for all he was worth, leaned toward the driver’s window, and hollered, “The Benett ranch about a mile up, gate’s on the left.” As the sun hit the horizon and splattered red all over the fields, the pickup truck pulled off on Fenwick’s goat pasture instead, and Borse was thinking wasn’t he supposed to be somewhere else, and the woman in the middle threw her bra out the window, three women at once wait ’til he told Buddy, and Borse knew he was supposed to be somewhere important, but he was drunk off his ass and didn’t care and Lord it was hot and he shuddered inside the amber-eyed woman and his stomach finally let go of his beer at the same time. She laughed, and her pupils turned to slits.

Here I am playing with dialogue. My aim was to make it so the words the characters say don’t match what the characters think.

By the time the sun set, Borse had the damn steer back where it belonged and the fence repaired. He checked in with Fernando.

Fernando eyed Borse up and down and said, “You all right, Borse?”

Borse paused before answering. “Good ‘nough.”

Fernando looked at him.

Borse looked back, scuffed the dirt with his boot.

After a moment, Fernando nodded toward the cow pen. “Got some pairs ready to separate. We’ll be done by the end of second shift.”

Scribbling is fun. Happy writing!

40 thoughts on “I’m not good enough to write like that.

  1. This popped up just as I finished playing around in Photoshop with an image. I am not a graphic artist and have very little skill with visual art. But it was fun gosh darn it! Just the point you made here. Ain’t the whole point?! Great picture here and I would def read that story.

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  2. Nice Priscilla, you are more than good enough to write. One tip I have picked up from my editing process is to not start a sentence with he or she, for example, He clutched the side for all he was worth, leaned toward the driver’s window, and hollered, if you change it to Clutching the side for all he was worth, he leaned towards the driver’s … it changes it from telling to showing. Pretty cool!

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  3. Absolutely love this…
    “As the sun hit the horizon and splattered red all over the fields, the pickup truck pulled off on Fenwick’s goat pasture instead”
    So wonderfully visual, Priscilla, I can’t wait until I can actually purchase a book from you.
    One caution: In the second snippet you shared, be careful of all the first name starts—Fernado, Borse, Fernando, Borse. Easy to overlook, but you’ve got some great butt-kicking prose!
    Happy writing!

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  4. At the risk of reading like a ‘sugar-coater’ you certainly have talent! I wish you publishing success!

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  5. Your title sucked me in. Then to get to sample what you’ve written? You’re being humble. You’re such an excellent writer. A true student of the craft. Loved the crayon/drawing analogy…or metaphor? I never know what to call whatever it is you did there, but whatever it is called you #NailedIt.

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  6. You’ve got some great visuals, Priscilla. And I’m impressed it only took you three tries to spell onomatopoeia correctly. (I didn’t even try – I copied and pasted your spelling from above, lol.)

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  7. Eh, I think we can all appreciate different kinds of writing. Maybe one type is just not your thing and that’s okay. Concentrate on improving the type of writing that is you. Love all this insight into the writing process you are giving us.

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  8. You are most definitely good enough to write anything! I think that the samples of your writing that I have read have pulled me into the story and made me want more.

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    1. Thank you, Carole. I needed a little boost to my confidence today as it took me FOREVER to rework a chapter this week. I kept getting tangled up and doubting myself! I am really glad you commented!!


  9. I could never imagine you had doubts about your writing! you are SO GOOD!. Even though I have to often reread them I LOVE reading character’s stream of consciousness! Not sure if I could write them tough 🙂

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  10. I think what you’ve got there is pretty darn great. You’ve got GREAT use of “stage business” in your brief dialogue section (I’m thinking of the line, specifically, where he scuffs his boot in the dirt) to convey the emotion without “telling” the reader how he feels. And the stream-of-consciousness portion works very well for drunken thoughts–and it’s enough, not overdone, for us to get the point. Keep at it!

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  11. You do have talent, and its important to be recognized for it! Not everyone can describe a scene without using repetitive words. Discovering our literary weaknesses isn’t the first step to development. It took me a long time to recognize that I have piss-poor character creation skills. No good at imagining physical parameters in my head, and keeping them there.

    We try everything we can, improve on what we can and recognize the roadblocks, then asses whether they are worth chiseling away at.

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