Friday, July 3, 2009

Afraid to Tell the Story

While on vacation, my great-uncle handed me a portfolio.

"You should read these," he said. "They're short stories. My buddy writes them."

So, I read them.


Look, the story was good. Really--a man and his dog whether a storm on the ocean. A good story!

But the writing... Oh, the writing.

Y'all know I'm a grammar queen. I wanted to rip out my red pen RIGHT THERE and make corrections on the text.

But it wasn't just that. It was the characterization, the structure, the plot holes, the oh-wait-and-this-happened-to, the dues ex machina, the dialog... the writing.

The story was there--the writing wasn't.

That made me realize: this is, at least at some level, probably every writer's greatest fear. We know our stories are good! We know the plot twists rock, the characters are cool! If the story fails, it's not because of the story--it's because of our ability to write it.

While the above statement may not be true--this story, for example, is both a horrible story and horribly written--I do think that's many writers' fear.

It is mine. I know that this WIP I've got going on is probably the best story I've ever come up with. But does my writing live up to the story in my mind?

No. Not yet.

But it will.

So, how about you? Do you have a great story, but are afraid that your writing won't live up to it...or are you the opposite, with great writing, but worried about the nature of the story?
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