Ernie has it right

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
— Ernest Hemingway

There have been times when I sat down and the words flowed as easily as the beagle’s margaritas sliding down my throat. Other times, it’s been like my attempts at baking…soppy, wet, sludgy things that by any other name, by any other cook, would be a cake.

How ’bout it…do you bleed, or do your stories flow forth with ease? Me ‘n Ernie…we be mates.

14 Responses to Ernie has it right

  1. spbowers says:

    I have times of ease and times of bleeding. I think I need both to write. They compliment each other. The ones where I struggle and bleed onto the paper though are the scenes that are the best, the ones I’m the most proud of.

  2. Amanda Adams says:

    When I wrote my book, there were very few parts that were terribly painful to write, and some of them got whacked before it ever found its way to you, Lynn. But I think that’s because I’d lived so much of what I wrote and had written or told it in some form before on the Carepage blog or just in conversation. So, I knew the road I was traveling and terrain under my feet.

    That said, when it was all done and pretty and ready for reading, I read it aloud as one final check on the language and search for typos or awkward sentences. I didn’t make it through the prologue without falling apart completely. I think it was Ernie’s blood loss. I’ve read the same aloud since, and I can manage it now, but the first time broke me in new places. So maybe it was a thousand little cuts and the end result left me oxygen deprived. I’m better now, but I was unsettled by the effect. He’s right but like booze (his other area of expertise) we all respond to the bleeding differently.

  3. My words struggle to match the elegance and exquisite beauty of the scenes unfolding in my head. The characters stumble and fall before they become recognizable…after the bruising goes down.

  4. Louise Curtis says:

    First drafts tend to be a chocolate-loaded release of stories that have been bubbling away in an irritating manner for months or years. It doesn’t get bloody until about the fifth draft, when I’m close to sending it somewhere and I hate every word.

    Louise Curtis

  5. AstonWest says:

    Add me in the half-and-half…some stories come easier than others.

  6. tbrosz says:

    The writing itself – scenes, dialogue, and description – usually flows like a faucet. It’s trying to construct a workable story and plot that eventually has me sitting in a small pile of my own hair.

  7. Lev Raphael says:

    Writing has never been a torment for me. It’s as good as sex and half as messy.

  8. My first drafts flow like a river of joy, but the rewrites and re-plotting take an eternity. Within a chapter or two of starting a new novel I’m so in love with my own brilliance that it carries me right through until someone else reads the drivel. Then the joy is over and the work begins of turning it into a book.

  9. Lev Raphael says:

    I’m really glad that I love revision!

    I did at least ten serious revisions of my most recent anthologized story, happy to work with an editor who was that dedicated and that clear-eyed about the book in general and my story specifically:
    http://www.upne.com/1-58465-939-4.html

    I’ve been lucky to have almost always had good, even inspiring editors from the very beginning of my career, whether for newspapers and magazines, several dozen anthologies, or books.

  10. I’m with you, Lev. I adore rewrites. The first few drafts are me telling myself the story. By the time it gets to an editor, I’m always so relieved they find all the warts that my writer’s eye has become blind to, that I pounce into editing like a girl getting ready for her first date.

  11. Lev Raphael says:

    Great image! I feel myself with the best editors in revision doing jazz improvisation, going someplace neither of us expected to go.

  12. Lev Raphael says:

    Great image! I feel myself with the best editors in revision doing jazz improvisation, going someplace neither of us expected to go, but that was there, waiting.

  13. Bill Webb says:

    There are days when trying to write a one-word sentence baffles me.

    Rewrites are where the gushing blood ocurrs.

  14. Lev Raphael says:

    And I see the revision process as vacation at a spa where the pampering begins. Instead of having to send your project out overweight with a bad haircut, you get to give it a massage, a mani/pedi, a stylish cut and maybe even buy some cool stuff at the boutique….. It keeps me going because I know nothing is ever as good as it could be but I can always get to a point where I can say, “Lookin’ good!” and let go.

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