Over the past few weeks I've been editing Rise of the Branded, the second book in my Scar of the Downer series. At times, it has been very frustrating. I hate the feeling that everything I write is poorly written.
So, as I have been thinking about this, I thought about a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago.
The funny thing is that while I was rereading the post, I realized my opinions and struggles have not changed in the past two years, even after being published.
One, I could edit my books for the rest of my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with them... completely. I feel as though I can always add something more, something deeper, something different. If I spend too much time thinking about it, it can be a depressing thought. That, however, is not what I wanted to write about, though it is somewhat related.
This was my second thought and my main point.
In Spain, there is a fresco called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) painted by Elias Garcia Martinez that was in need of restoration
Now, this picture of the painting was before the needed restoration.
So a woman in her 80s, who had some painting experience, took it upon herself to restore the fresco. Well, needless to say, she botched it.
It is now jokingly referred to as Ecce Mono (Behold the Monkey). You can see the drastic difference (at least I hope you can.)
So what is the point of this blog post?
As a writer, all the stories I have in my head look like Ecce Homo. I know what the story is and what it looks like, but when I try to put the words to paper, I sometimes feel all I get is Ecce Mono. The two don't measure up.
This, as you can imagine, is a very frustrating.
I can visualize the story, the characters, and the world, but getting it to look like the original is where the problem comes. It’s kind of like being a forger of paintings. You have a masterpiece that you are trying imitate, but because of your limitations, it appears as a cheap copy.
(And yes, I did refer to the idea in my head as a masterpiece. Who would write something that they thought was mediocre? The problem I have, however, is the putting the idea down on paper. That's where my limitations hinder me.)
Anyway, back to the blog post.
So what do I, as a writer, do? Well, I do what every writer does.
I write and edit, write and edit, write and edit, hoping that in the end I can’t tell the difference between what is on paper from what is in my head. And maybe, just maybe, I can end up with a resemblance of my Ecce Homo.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.