Watching the snow fall and a word about morality tales

snow in the treesIt is 6am.  I have been awake for around an hour and a half.  A hot cup of tea is to my right and a cat sits on my window sill to the left.  He is making these distracting purring/chirping sounds because he wants to go outside but the porch is cover in snow.

We received about six inches of fluffy white stuff last night.  I went out when it first started falling and covered my car with a table cloth.  Then around 11pm I went out with a bowl and scooped up snow for snow cream.  The kids loved it.

After filling our bellies full of snow and sugar, the three of us crawled into my bed and moving castlecuddled together while I read them the next chapter of Howl’s Moving Castle.  By the end of the chapter both kids were snoring softly.  Putting the book away with a head pillowed on each shoulder was a little difficult but I managed.

There is no school today so when the sun comes up and my two lovelies awake, we will probably go build snowmen (or snow daleks) after breakfast.  Once sufficiently chilled we will come in to warm drinks and hot soup.  I may write a little, but more than likely I will end up curled up on the couch with my daughter watching Doctor Who.

I have spent the past hour catching up on blog posts I’ve black-41201_640missed this week and doing a little writing work so I won’t feel guilty later.  I also purchased Reflections:On the Magic of Writing  by Diana Wynne Jones.  It is a collection of essays and speeches.  I’ve been reading it slowly.  It is one of those books that makes you want to stop and think after every chapter.

A blog post that I read this morning also made me stop and think.  (You can check it out over at Comet Tales or follow the link above.)  It was in regard to the debate about what writers should be striving for in their writing.

Is it our job to teach?  Is it our job to send messages to our readers?  Should we be standing on soap boxes or telling stories?  Is there a way to do both?  Should we do both?  soapbox_webThese are all questions I gave some serious thought to after reading Stephanie Osborn’s post.

Writer-once-upon-a-time-1024x576In the end, my answers to these questions were simple.  Just write the story.  Anything else that should be in there will fall into place naturally.  People (or at least me as reader) like to read stories.  They don’t often like to read lectures.  Morality tales were the only plays allowed once upon a time.  I think that is one of the reasons Shakespeare was such a breath of fresh air and has survived so long.  He was prolific and gave people variety.

I have no historical accounts to back this up right now.  In fact I imagine my time is just a little off and I do know there were other playwrights that wrote things that were not 284646_432685473474603_712801232_nchurch approved before.  I could look it up. I may do a blog post on that alone one day.  However, this post is running long and my tea cup is empty.  That means it is time to wrap this up.  I encourage you to read Stephanie’s blog post yourself and come up with your own answers.  As with everything in writing, answers to questions like this seem to be author specific. Not all answers work for everyone.

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Beta Readers and Accepting the Truth

once uponOnce upon a time I wrote a story…

Yes, I know. You think you’ve heard this one, well listen up because the story I am about to tell is a little different. (Spoiler: I am going to admit to being wrong about something.)  You see, I wrote a story and like a responsible writer I sent it out to some beta readers to read.

Soon the readers finished the story and sent it back to me.  All of the comments were very Standing_at_the_Pool_of_Creation_Printsimilar.  They were things along the lines of:  “This was great, but I don’t think it is finished.”  or  “I loved the characters, but where is the rest of it.”  And one person thought he was funny by giving it back to me with a big “F” written on it along with the comment “Not Finished”.   (He hasn’t read anything of mine since. I was not amused.)

I loved my characters and I thought what I had was well written.  For the most part people agreed with me.  So, ignoring the “but” following the good comments I stamped the story done.  I even sent it out a couple of times only to have it rejected.

I was being lazy.  I didn’t want to think about wizards and what else might happen.  When it was rejected I tucked into a folder and forgot about it.

tigYesterday I came across it again.  After re-reading it I discovered something.  My Beta readers were right.  It wasn’t finished.  I had been wrong to ignore their input. I was embarrassed by my own narcissism.  True, I had written a pretty picture but that was all it was; a sketch without the ink or paint.

So now I have dusted off the unfinished story and have started trying to figure out the rest.  The moral of this story (since the guy titanic-sinkingwho gave me the F seems to think that all stories should come with morals…) Hubris can get in your way and waste your time.  Have faith in your work but also have faith in those you trust to read it.