April 18th, 2008

When you know it's good

Last weekend I wrote a new short story, and when I finished my final read-through I really thought, Wow, that may be the creepiest thing I've ever written. I've since had two dreams related to the story, so obviously it embedded itself firmly in my subconscious.

Now really, I don't think that about every story I write. Certainly I try to make every story as good as I can, but...well, let's face it: Most of any skilled writer's stories fall into the "it's very saleable if not exactly brilliant" camp.

But sometimes you get lucky, and you finish something and you know it's really good, and it's kind of amazing.

There are some writers who can't stand to review their own material, so they might never experience that. I know of at least one (hello, haceldama!) who claims that his best stories are always the ones that he thinks suck. Unfortunately I suspect a lot of writers cast no real critical eye on their own work, but rather employ the quantity-over-quality method, figuring that if they fling enough monkey poop at the wall, eventually something will stick. Heck, even they get lucky sometimes and produce a good story.

But it's a lot more rewarding when you have some awareness of your own work, and can sit back and look at something and feel really proud about the fact that it might give somebody else a bad dream or two.