Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'll never be a good fiction writer

Multiple Palanca winner Dean Francis Alfar issued a call for subissions to volume 2 of his Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology. That was around--I dont remember. [I checked. He issued the call for submissions last April.] All I know is that the deadline is on the 15th of September and true to form, I started writing what would be my submission on the 15th, right after lunchtime. Which brings us to the first reason I will never be a good writer: I didnt have time to rewrite. The essence of writing is rewriting. It's rare that anybody gets it right the first time. You have to hone it and shape it and pare it, or sometimes beef it up; develop it. It has to be seen in the harsh light of objectivity after youve cooled down from the creative ardor. I didnt do that.

Which brings me to the second reason why I will never be a good writer: I couldnt do that. I dont know. For some reason, I have this... fear... of revisiting any story I created. It makes me cringe. I remember an interview with Gene Hackman where he said he could never watch himself on sceen so he has never seen any of his movies. I guess it's the same thing. Not that Im comparing myself to the multi-awarded actor. Im just saying that the reason he gave in the interview made perfect sense to me.

I mentioned the word 'fear'. That brings me to the third reason I'll never be a good writer. The blank page fills me with dread. I have ideas out the wazoo, but when it came time to write them down, I balk, paralyzed with stage fright. And in those times when I manage to write a sentence, and it sounds 'poetic' or flowery, or artsy-fartsy in any way, I kill it; I delete the sentence. I guess it's my training as a technical writer; any sort of adornment or decoration is superfluous.

And that's the reason I only started writing my story on the day of the deadline. I put it off and put it off, leaving me to work, stop-start as the daily grind intrudes, with no time to review and rewrite.

Anyway, I finally did it. Submitted the piece, and as I re-read it the next day, scanning and cringing along the way, I realized what a complete waste of Mr. Alfar's time it is. But it's out of my hands now. Maybe one day I'll come back to it and give it the time it deserves, because quite frankly, I think it rocks. The idea of it, if not the actual execution.


grifter said...

send it to me. just in case Dean doesn't even give it the time of the day (who knows eh?), i will. nyhahahahaha! Send, send, send!!!!!

dkny.ca said...

yup, where's my copy?

R. O. said...

hi jego, enough of this defeatist talk. write, write and write some more. then get published. if rejected, it's their loss. find another publisher. that's how it is with struggling and writing :)

Jego said...

Thanks, r.o.

Although I could do without the 'struggling' part. :-D