I'm currently reading a 784-page novel, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm fascinated by her compelling descriptions and characterizations. Her ability to engage her readers with prose so full of meaning it's impossible to skip even a word of it, makes me wonder how I can possibly hope to reach that level of skill as a writer. I'm in awe of her talent and completely baffled at how she manages to spill out so many pages without writing one boring or unnecessary sentence.
In editor mode now, I'm pushing toward finishing Charade with a word count goal set somewhere around 70,000. I've got 6,000 more words to write to reach that ballpark number, and I want to make the prose that results worth the reader's time and compelling enough to give depth of character and place without adding unnecessary and therefore boring filler. Ugh! I hate even admitting to thinking about adding such fatty, spare-tire prose to round out the skinny creature I've got running toward the finish. How do I make this anemic second draft into a robust, six-pack-sporting Adonis?
Yes, I'm still plagued by uncertainty and hesitation when it comes to laying bare my artistic passions on the pages of a novel for discerning readers to peruse. Maybe I can console myself with the old adage that says if you're not nervous before you go on stage, then your performance won't be worth a fart. Or something along those lines. I think I made up the part about the fart.
I haven't formulated satisfying answers to my questioning as yet, but maybe the key lies in just slogging ahead with as much skill as I currently possess and hoping for the best. At least I recognize the pitfalls of adding words just to fill space. Maybe, at this point in my writing career, I have developed some degree of mastery in my craft that will allow me to reach for some small degree of what I've seen possible by reading Tartt.
Today's tidbit: Practice, practice, practice whatever your craft may be until the melody you're making fits perfectly the lyrics of your song.
Thanks for humming along while I run like mad to the finish,