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In July issue... Writers Write, and they Rewrite, by Michael J. Just


Writers Write
And they Rewrite

by Michael J. Just


Writers Write - And they Rewrite Iíd like to write today about writing. Not the difficulties of being a self-published author of fiction, but the nuts and bolts, the process itself. I donít have much of a horn to honk. Iím not a best-seller, but I do continue to write Ė fiction and non-fiction Ė across several genres. Iíve written screenplays, short fiction, novels, inspirational short and long nonfiction, nature fiction and nature nonfiction. I write horror, crime, mystery, suspense, speculative, and mainstream-contemporary. I do novellas, metaphysical, essays. Not by way of advertising, but for you to get to know me and my work a little better, you can find samples chapters and excepts on this website, as well as short inspirational pieces. I also run another website, canyoncallsthebook.com to highlight my nature nonfiction and a collection of short stories Iíve written which each take place in the Grand Canyon. Youíll find three of my novels as well as Canyon Calls, my short story collection, on amazon.

There are only two things I know for sure; facts, correct statements I can make about writing. First, writers write. Second, writing is rewriting. Letís look at the first statement.

It seems kind of obvious that writing is what we do. But many people who begin donít always finish, and Iím not talking about foreplay. Iím talking moving from the Foreword to THE END. Different authors have different processes, but what all successful writers have in common is that they finish. Whether you work from an outline or hew to a more organic process, your job is to complete the rough draft. Have there been projects that I havenít finished? Sure. And there are those that are DOA, and I usually know it before I finish the first rough. But the goal is to complete the work. Iíve created symphonies, songs, movies, music videos, animated shorts, seminars and murders, none of which have come to fruition because they havenít left the space between my ears. And so, no oneís heard or seen them but me. Itís been said that most people have one good book in them. That may be true, but because they never lay the words down, it stays a pilot project, a blueprint. Thatís why most people arenít writers. Doesnít matter whether youíve sold a million copies. Doesnít matter whether you or anyone else thinks your good. Doesnít matter whether anyone knows who you are. Youíre a writer if you write. Thatís a self-authenticating statement.

The second truth: writing is rewriting. It should be rather obvious, but writing is just one of those arts Ė along with the dramatic arts Ė that takes place in the second, third and even fourth drafts or edits as much as it does in the first draft. Musicians rehearse. Graphic artists do sketches. Architects make blueprints. With us, itís the editing that counts. I learned long ago from a teacher that literature is a form which appears spontaneous, but which in reality is wholly constructed. In fact, sometimes the magic takes place as much if not more in the rewriting as it does in the writing. In my horror novel, The Mind Altar, the ending is what grabs most people. Yet that ending was radically different in the first draft. Stories are what they are supposed to be, not what the author wants them to be. And the ending to a good story is inevitable. In The Mind Altar, my head tried to ram a different end to the story in the first draft than the story was meant to have. It was only in the rewriting that I discovered this. Thatís where the completely unexpected occurred. So if you donít like to rewrite, then you have three, no, four options. One, hire a great editor. Two, write a magnificently detailed and infallible outline from which the first draft is actually the rewrite. Three, be a literary genius (which you canít choose). Four, paint houses.

Writers write, and they rewrite. The two noble truths.

© 2021 by Michael C. Just With permission

Mikeís novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.
You can purchase the book through this website. Or go straight to Amazon

Mikeís other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002

Two of his short stories have recently been published online. The Obligate Carnivore has been published by the Scarlet Leaf Review @ Category: MICHAEL JUST Ė SCARLET LEAF REVIEW

I See You, Too has been published by the 96th of October @ I See You, Too Ė 96th of October


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Publishing New Writers,

May, 2021 (vol. 22, no. 6)


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