I’ve always tended toward writing perfectionism. It has its advantages! My final drafts are refined, confidently telling enough of my story. Of course, perfectionism also has its disavantages. I feel those when I stare at the same scene for the sixth time, wondering if the soul has been wrung out of it.
What’s a perfectionist writer to do? Why, make a list, of course!
Becoming Perfectly Imperfect
|Pro: Rewriting a scene can make my characters’ emotions feel more authentic and intense, like they’re living, breathing individuals.
|Con: Sometimes, my endless tinkering turns them into emotional rollercoasters, leaving readers feeling seasick.
|Pro: Polishing dialogue can make my characters sound like they’ve stepped right out of a classic film.
|Con: Then again, too much polish might leave them sounding like cheesy soap opera stars (no shade).
|Pro: Perfecting the setting can transport readers straight into the heart of a beautiful, romantic world.
|Con: Or, obsessing over every detail could make the setting feel more like a stage backdrop than a living, breathing place.
|Pro: Fine-tuning the pacing ensures that the romantic tension between my characters builds to a satisfying crescendo.
|Con: Except when I overanalyze it to the point where the pacing starts to resemble a game of musical chairs.
|Pro: Rewriting can help me discover new plot twists and turns that keep my readers on the edge of their seats.
|Con: But I might also end up with a tangled mess of a plot that’s harder to unravel than a ball of yarn after a kitten party.
|Pro: Perfecting my prose can make my writing sing like a finely-tuned orchestra.
|Con: Or it could turn it into an overproduced pop song that leaves readers craving something raw and real (again, no shade).
|Pro: Diving deep into my characters’ motivations can help me create more complex, multidimensional individuals.
|Con: That is until I overthink it so much that they start to feel like they’re trapped in a never-ending therapy session.
|Pro: Rewriting allows me to tie up all those pesky loose ends and plot holes.
|Con: But sometimes, I get so fixated on those loose ends that I unravel the entire story in the process.
|Pro: Refining my love scenes can make them sizzle with passion and intimacy.
|Con: However, obsessing over every touch and glance can leave them feeling more clinical than passionate.
|Pro: Ultimately, my perfectionist tendencies drive me to create the best romance novel I possibly can.
|Con: But when I get too caught up in the pursuit of perfection, I risk losing sight of the messy, imperfect beauty of love itself.
There’s a real joy in reading something I wrote and feeling the good lines land on my heart with a thud. Is it perfectionism to want every line to thud? Yes, and it’s not a good idea either. I’m learning to step away from the keyboard and let some lines just support the others.