Lace and Walt Whitman

I’m writing a new novel. Well, “writing” can mean several things. At this moment it means that I’m researching and putting together character sketches. As I said before, I’m not ready for the actual writing (which we call “drafting” in the biz).

Another thing I do at this stage in the novel writing process is what I like to call “pre-writing”. It’s when I try on the voice of my protagonist (the main character). When I stretch out a little into a scene or two that have been bouncing around while I fold laundry or wash dishes.

It’s also when I decide from what point of view I want to write. First person (where the character narrates) or third (where a non-character who is pretty much a know-it-all tells the story).

I’ve only ever written novels in the first person. I decided I’d try a little third in my pre-writing.

What came out was detached, frilly flowers of words. It didn’t match the story I’m trying to tell at all.

That’s when I remembered Walt Whitman.


So, you know what I did? I tried writing in the first person. The frills fell off. The flowers wilted. The lace snagged and got pulled all out of shape. What I got was grit.

Let me tell you something, I like writing with grit.

It’s the style I love to read, too.

I mean, I’ll read something now and then with the smallest amount of lace on the sleeve. But it’s also cool if that lace gets a little blood stain on it here or there.

Back to work.

Hope you have a great day!

Hey, do you like books with lace or grit? Or maybe even a little of both? Do you agree with Walt Whitman?

5 Comments on “Lace and Walt Whitman

  1. I definitely like both. But I can’t picture you writing very “lacy” – so glad you gave it a try, though. Stretch those writer muscles!!

    Also curious if you think you could, personally, write in third person without frills. I’ve certainly seen it done, though no books or authors are popping into my head. (Enjoying My Mother’s Camomile, by the way – though my busy life has left me little time for reading anything outside my genre)


    • I’ve written 3rd person before without getting too frilly. I just find that I write more “purple” in 3rd. Also, I like how personal it feels to read and write in first. Not all of my favorite books are written in first, but many are.

      And, thanks! I understand not having a ton of time to read. Totally. There’s no rush! 🙂


  2. Pingback: The Muck and the Mud | Susie Finkbeiner

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