Being a writer who isn’t very good is a tough existence.
I’m not saying that I can’t write and haven’t written high quality, award-winning things… I have. But, every writer, at some point, stinks at what they are trying to do, no matter how hard they try to avoid it.
My history is writing screenplays. That’s my comfort zone. I have written over 20 feature scripts in a number of different genres (action, suspense, horror, comedy, family). Some have won awards, some have been optioned and a few have been produced. My approach to writing screenplays was simple; whenever I would get a new idea, I considered the process of writing the first draft as an experiment. I didn’t really care whether the script ended up being any good, I just wanted to see if I could pull it off. Sometimes I succeeded, often times I didn’t.
When I decided to turn our Gabby Wells TV series scripts into a novel series, I was entering deep, dark and dangerous uncharted territory. I was embarking on one honking, massive and scary experiment. From the moment page one’s blank paper stared intimidatingly back in my face, I knew I was leaving my comfort zone. Not just leaving it, but obliterating it.
Screenplays are clean, precise, focused, limited. Novels are indulgent, expansive, inclusive and massive. Even the really well written ones like Hunger Games or the Odd Thomas series and quick reads, yet bring us into new worlds with interesting characters and tangible evils.
The more I read well-written books, the more I realize that more rewrites lay ahead for our Gabby Wells novels. They are substantially better than the first few drafts, but not up to the standard of being excellent.
This journey as a writer, in this formidable creative experiment, has not been easy, especially on my wife who has had to suffer through the early drafts which were great on plot, substandard on flow. Plus, the struggle on me has been equally difficult at times. I know I’ll come out of this process a much better writer, but, like an obese man in the middle of a weight loss program, knowing you’ll be thin and actually being thin are two very different things.
In the end, I have to be patient. I have to trust the process. I have to accept living as a bad novel writer until I can grow in skill to become a good one.