Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reading: Writers Workshop of Horror

Chapter 19: Michael Knost

The Aha! Moment is without a doubt the best feeling in the world.
I have been writing since I have been 8 years old, and I have tons of poorly written stories saved in a trunk at home, just to make me laugh when I get frustrated.  But it wasn't until I hit high school that  I became a writer...of journalism. If I had a bag right now, I would puke in it.

I'm not in any way shape or form dissing journalism, because funny enough, I still write it.  It was just that I was doing it because people said I was good at it, so I figured what the hell.  I wrote because that was what people expected from me, and sure I ranked up a ton of publications from newspapers and magazines, but I hated what I was doing.  And when I say hated... I mean hated. 

So then I came to college and got serious. I piled up so many rejection letters that it seriously broke my spirit... but I printed them all out, and let me tell you...when  I received my first acceptance letter, it was a feeling like no other.  Now don't get me wrong, I hate getting rejected, but I think I've gotten better at it.  Now it's more of a *sigh* and send out to another market feeling, than a *Oh, I clearly suck* feeling. 

Now in this chapter, Knost gives us a variety of examples of people having their AHA! Moments, so now I want to give you mine:

My first semester here at Seton Hill University, my professor, Dr.  Jerz, told me something that I will never forget: Murder your Darlings.    In other words, not every thing you write is gold, so get ready to chop it up.  Dear  lord, I was terrified.  And then I started submitting to horror magazines, haha.  There was one specific poem that I loved, and no matter what it would not get accepted anywhere...so clearly, I was a little flustered.  After numerous rejection letters, I sat down at took another look at it, and simply took the idea, and a couple of my favorite metaphors, and just re-wrote the damn thing.  I slaughtered bad similes and stabbed crappy sentences, and after I murdered everything...it got accepted.  Thank you Blood Moon Rising Magazine, and thank you Dr. Jerz.

So now, needless to say, I like to write my poetry, read it out loud, and then let it sit for a little bit before I return to it and give it another go.  Don't get me wrong, it's still very hard to take off the writer's cap and replace it with an editor's one...but it's worth it in the end to see that different hats still look good on you.