Good Writing is like a Great Campfire

Ever watch someone (or yourself) struggle to make a fire, someone who perhaps doesn’t make fires regularly? Was there a period of time where you doubted if the fire would ever start? Or maybe there were brief moments of yellow flame that ended up extinguishing into a smoky wisp due to poor thermal mechanics.

Sometimes that’s what writing is like in terms of gathering readers. You write for months and think it’s ready, send it out to the  world only to gather brief sparks of readers and then… nothing. The fire went out as the sound of crickets has replaced the crackling embers you had hoped for. Try lighting it again. One match, two matches, sulfur in your nose, three matches, blow… still not catching. Hmm… what to do now?

There are times when an overhaul of the book and campfire will be needed. Not to worry, most everything that matters is there but just needs major tweaking. Ruthless editing, dryer kindling, better dialog, more air flow, critique groups, scout manual, fewer words, smaller logs, less redundancy, more stoking… and it might take a short period of time or a long one. But sometimes it simply has to be done. This is what separates the master fire builders from the hordes of would-be-writers, a willingness to do whatever it takes to get that baby roaring.

How will you know when your book is ready? When you put it out there and absolute strangers contact you to let you know how quickly they burned through it and how it mesmerized them while warming their hearts.

Stick with it and remember; Rome wasn’t built in a day but it burned in 5.

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4 Responses to “Good Writing is like a Great Campfire”

  1. mikidemillion Says:

    So true. I’m still in the match striking phase. I’d never make it on Survivor. But I keep trying. Like now, ha ha, I’m tag-surfing WordPress instead of writing. I said trying, even if only in my mind. Maybe I’d better get back to those matches…

  2. Jason Matthews Says:

    Tag-surfing blogs is good too. Writing is also networking.

  3. Kerry Dennis Says:

    In rewriting my book I have found a lot of things that need revision. Too many ‘tag lines” not enough opportunities for the reader to draw their own picture of what is happening. Too often I did the telling and not the showing. I am learning, but it takes time and lots and lots of reading to see how real authors do it. Setting the fire is all about getting the reader to light their own fires. If you can do that, you have got it made!

  4. Jason Matthews Says:

    That’s the trick for me too, Kerry. We’re authors with a message, but sometimes we need to be a bit more subtle with our delivery. Keep up the great work!
    For anyone interested in a book like nothing you’ve read before, In Less Than A Second is an amazing journey of time, space, spirit and heart that I highly recommend.
    http://inlessthanasecond.com/


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