Chaos Theory


“Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos.  Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.” — I Ching

In that case, my novel will be AMAZING!  Ha!

One of the things I have had to work to overcome (and is this true for other writers, I wonder?) is the desire for praise/acceptance from people who are important in my life.  Case in point:  both of my older sisters will acknowledge (if they must) that I can write, but they both state they dislike what it is that I write, my subject matter.  That bothered me for awhile (I mean, hey, we all crave acceptance from our families, right?) until I realized that I had to view them as random readers, anyone who might pick up my work.  Some will like it, some won’t.  And that’s okay.  The important thing is that I like it.

Which, of course, leads me to that writer conundrum of never entirely being satisfied with a piece of work.  At which point do we say “Enough!” and stop tweaking it?  It becomes a case of gut-feel.  Even then, I have gone back to published work months or years later and cringed.  The itch develops in my fingers to rewrite, make tighter, do better.  Sometimes I indulge, although that can feel like beating a dead horse, as it were.  Better to take that desire to write tighter and better to the next piece of writing.  (Obviously if we’re talking about a piece that hasn’t yet been published, that’s a different kettle of spam.  If there’s hope left in a piece — and it isn’t total shite — work that sucker!  If nothing else, you’ll learn from the process.)

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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