When will you, can you, write the perfect book?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I spoke, last night, about having not yet written the perfect novel.  I wonder how many authors ever really think they have?  But this morning, my father wrote, and then another (we call her Soup), following up with that train of thought, both asking a version of, Do you see your writing coming closer to the perfect book?

And the answer, honestly, is this:  I am taking more risks.  I am pulling harder on language.  I am going darker and deeper, and coming up lighter; I am balancing more ambiguity for longer stretches; I am working those broader swaths of gray.  I want to achieve a work of art that lasts.  I want to be able to read every line in an entire book aloud and not be swept through—at any point—with the sudden desire to change a word, drop a prefix.

Writing is hard. If I thought I'd mastered it already, I'd be done.  I don't want to be done.  Not yet.

5 comments:

Holly said...

this is why it is so cool that authors blog! you would have no idea otherwise of these kinds of things going on, except for critics speculating...

Ann Hite said...

My first novel will be released in Sept 2011. And if I went through it today, I would find sentences I want to change, at the very least words. ;) Part of the adventure and what keeps me real is striving to do better, to create that work of art.

Melissa Walker said...

Fantastic post. I don't know that any of us will ever feel "perfect," but how amazing to try! And you, Beth, are closer than most. x

The1stdaughter said...

I'm so very happy you aren't finished! I don't know if anyone ever truly feels they've had a "perfect" in whichever craft they pursue. There may always be others that say they feel it's perfect, but it's definitely a personal thing. At least that's how it is with my music and it feels similar to writing.

We are always our own worst critics, but it's important to appreciate the process. I for one can tell you do. Keep up the fabulous work!

Lilian Nattel said...

If it were ever perfect, then what more would there be? No, perfection is not only not achievable, it isn't desirable. There is always more to learn in art.

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