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E.C. Henry

Hey, it's been nearly 2 months since you had a new post--and now this! Great post, worth the wait. And so topical--at least for where I'm at in life right now, writing an epic fantasy novel of my own.

Of all of what you said, the most interesting thing was that you were leading a writers' group. Too cool. How is that going? Are the people in your group writers with credits to their names, students, or just friends who like to write?

Just this last week writing for me, I experienced one of the funniest phenomenoms a writer can go through, and that being in a new draft when you reimmagine chacters and mishmashed their traits together as existed in the earlier draft that you mind remembers--just not all the details. A general's son suddenly became a minter of coins, a tailor became a raiser of horses. All were supporting Elf characters, happening in chapter 5 then error found in chapter 7, about 225 pages into a 1000+ page story. It kinda reminded me of that scene in "Alex and Emma" where Alex, as he's reciting his novel to his stenographer, changes the nationality of a key love interest from Swedish to German. Do you remember that scene?

Anywho, writing is very humbling. It's funny the mistakes you can make even with a draft at your dispoal. Writing well, is Herculean task. Glad you have a writers group to help you find your issues and iron them out early in the process. That in itself, Billy, puts you way ahead of the curve.

Bradford Richardson

Billy, Thanks for the kick of inspiration. Fantastic line: "When you're writing a first draft, perfection is not just the enemy of the good, it's the Death Star."

Chrissie

Great advice. Thank you.

mernitman

EC, I'm in one writing group as a longtime student of my writing mentor, Deena Metzger, and I run a writing group of my own which is largely made up of former students and writers of their acquaintance... Meanwhile, writing IS humbling, for sure. I look at the architecture of something like George R.R. Martin's best GOT books (and even more brilliant, Benioff & Weiss's Martin-guided revision of the books for the TV series) and can only bow down before it and feel like a rank punk slacker.

Barbara hug here: ( )

Bradford, happy to kick.

You're welcome, Chrissie!

Jeff Takacs

Billy,

Wonderful blog. Thank you. Small correction: the quote you use is often misattributed to Thomas Aquinas. It is actually from the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, which significantly predates Aquinas. It's one of the best quotes ever. Would be my tattoo, if I were the tattooing kind.

Thanks again for the great blog!

mernitman

Jeff, thank you for the info - I've directed readers of the post to your comment, via an asterisk (coincidentally reading "Zealot" at the moment, with all its exhaustive parsing of ancient attributions, so I can understand the need for clarification).

Jeff Takacs

You're welcome! Another nutty coincidence: I just picked up that Christopher Moore "Lamb" book the other day! Huh.

mernitman

Jeff: GMTA (Great minds...)

Michelle Duffy

Reminds me of a great quote from Irish comedy writer, Graham Linehan: "The first draft is toilet paper. Just get it out!"

mernitman

Michelle: And Annie Lamott on "shitty drafts" and Hemingway, too ("All first drafts are shit"). There's a grand tradition of literary ca-ca profundity.

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