Writing in “Public” (or Charles Dickens Did It)

I’m taking a break from the hideous story I’ve been posting so I can capture what it’s been like to write like an insane killer: serially. Okay, that’s dramatic.

But writing a story in chunks and putting those drafty chunks out there for others to inspect feels as if I’m barfing on stage in my underwear. I hate it.

Okay. Charles Dickens did it. I guess he would write in monthly installments and even change characters and the plot as he went along, based on reader feedback. Wow.

After trying this method myself, I have great respect for Dickens.

I can’t stand my story or my characters, yet I feel compelled to keep going. Like because I started something so public, I’m obligated to finish.

Honestly, that WAS one of the reasons I tried this little experiment. I wanted to try slogging, um, I mean blogging out a story. The sense of a deadline. The possibility that someone out there was waiting to “read what happens next.”

And yeah, that sorta worked. I DID/DO feel the need to keep writing.

But should I? In all honesty, I kinda think the story sucks. If I were writing in the privacy of my own computer, I’d likely abandon this drivel and work on something more promising.

Now I’m torn. Do I stop here? Do I take the little half-breathing monster into my “private lab” and experiment, trying to revise it into something alive. Something less hideous.

Or do I leave it. Let it be a monster. Let it sit out there on the interweb and think about what it’s done to me.  It’s an embarrassment, really.

But all writing’s embarrassing on some levels. Sometimes revision is all that stands between embarrassing and brilliant. Or at least okay and kinda good.

I’ll take it into the lab and see. And maybe I’ll share what I create there, maybe I won’t.

But aside from feeling like everyone’s judging me for really bad performance art, I feel like I got something out of this attempt.

I still hated doing it. But I might try it again anyway.

2 thoughts on “Writing in “Public” (or Charles Dickens Did It)

  1. In regards to revision: Just don’t do too much revision, I’ve always found that too much can take away from the original intent of the writing. For this reason, I try to limit my revisions to grammar or spelling mistakes.

    • Thanks so much Frances antoinette for your comment! (You’re my very first!!)

      I agree with you that revising a story too much can really screw things up. Once I had a boyfriend who took a rotary phone apart to figure out how it worked. He could never get it back together. That’s my metaphor for too much revision. When you lose the essence of the thing itself. Needless to say, the phone was never a phone again. Just a collection of meaningless pieces.

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