By Contributing Blogger, The Oldest Living Middle-Aged Writer
Many years ago, during my WAA (Writing Avoidance Activities) days, I took three creative writing classes in a row, one I didn’t even register for. A friend and I decided we would collaborate on an historical romance novel. We figured it should be about 100,000 words, so we could easily knock it out in four months. It would be about a female pirate in the 1800s, sort of between “Frenchman’s Creek” and a bodice ripper.
We then launched a time-intensive search for the perfect names for the lady pirate and the tall, handsome man she would fall in love with. Her name would be Maeve and his would be Claude. The ship would sail out of Charleston, South Carolina. We did extensive research on the ship – it would be wooden with large sails. With these essential details in hand, we began writing.
In re-reading the first page, I discovered that due to missing punctuation or perhaps a dangling participle, the father’s moustache was hugging the rail. Maeve’s startling ultramarine blue-hued speckled eyes were delighting in the wind whipping the sails, and Robert’s leonine sun-drenched yellow mane of hair flapped in the wind. Your teeth are like pearls, he sneeringly said. Gosh, this was harder than we thought. (Apparently, writing a book requires much more than a dictionary and a thesaurus.)
We almost made it to the third page before we gave up.
Not long ago I found a cardboard box in my garage labeled “bad writing.” I’m sure my pirate book was in there along with piles of other poorly written prose. I threw it away without opening it. It takes a lot of really bad writing to get to the good stuff. I should know.
The Oldest Living Middle-Aged Writer (aka Pat Childers) is a regular contributing blogger who lives in Midwestern flyover country with her dogs, and the occasional sighting of her husband. In between innings of the Cubs game and contributing to this blog, she works on her web site. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org