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I think one of  my problems is balance, in writing I mean (my balance in real life isn’t so great either due to perpetual sinus issues, but that’s not what this is about).  I lack the ability to find a middle-ground.  When I develop a character I either write pages and pages of background on their life until I know how old they were when they lost their first tooth, what their favorite cereal is, and what brand of toothpaste they buy. This is actually sort of what you’re supposed to do when you first work on character development, but I’m usually using it to avoid actually writing a story (because that involves conflict and I am so non-confrontational I don’t even like to introduce it into the lives of the people I make up).  The alternative of course is when I get in a hurry and  start a story where I spend the first several pages referring to my lead as __________ , or (need to pick a name).

Characters though, really aren’t the worst of it. For instance, writing a description of a blue sky could go one of two ways:

a) The sky was as blue as the bluest sapphire, it was luminescent and the color of a robin’s feather. It was as blue as anything she had ever seen. It was bluer than the cornflowers in may, bluer than her little brother’s eyes, and bluer than the ocean. In fact, in her mind it had redefined “blue,” everything blue she would ever see for the very rest of her life would now be held up to the standard of this blue.

or:

b) The sky was blue.

I once wrote a short story for a class in which I avoided an important conversation that was occurring in the kitchen because I wasn’t sure what I wanted them to say. My teacher called me on it, which meant that for the revision stage of class I had to figure out what exactly my two main characters were talking about (I had been hoping that if I sent them to the other room everyone would forget about them until they came back). I (probably unfortunately) decided they were speaking of cake (I think this is probably because when I revise I eat constantly and so I had food on the brain). The two sisters talked for over a page about cake and ice cream, but what they were really talking about was ongoing arguments and their complicated familial relationships (basically all of the conflict I work to avoid).  I went from no conversation to an overly convoluted, heavily symbolic conversation which revolved around dessert (one of my favorite subjects).

But perhaps the worst area of my pendulum swing writing habits is the fact that sometimes I have nothing to write on this blog at all and sometimes, I write long, fairly rambling posts that have almost nothing to do with their titles. (See above.)

Now go find yourself some cake, you earned it if you made it this far.

*I definitely borrowed most of this blog title from the title of Raymond Carver’s collection. Also, I’m sorry if you were hoping for a post that was actually about dessert.

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