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Something about staying true to yourself
Bobby vs. The Novel. Volume 3.
A month ago, I read back the latest draft of my novel and sank with disappointment. Something about it seemed neutered, less funny. I decided to compare it to the draft before it and almost exploded.
In my efforts to "polish" the book, I accidentally smoothed over details, choosing academic grammar over funny sentences. I removed interesting dialogue because I feared it would feel “too talky.”
I decided to perform corrective surgery on the book, bringing back the spark of that earlier draft while keeping the positive structural changes of the most recent one.
As a low-budget filmmaker, I'm so used to cutting my screenplays down to the bone, making them lean enough to actually "make our day," that I think I brought that energy to the book at a time when it needed to air out.
But I know what pushed me down this road. I was reading a great novel and, of course, began comparing my work to it. But I was a fool! That book (although great) wasn’t remotely like the thing I was writing — not in tone, style, or subject matter.
In other words, I was trying to polish my way into a style that wasn’t my own.
I went through the same stretch as a screenwriter. After The Cleanse, I pushed myself into work that I thought would appeal to a broader audience. I polished away what made me unique.
It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
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