Monday Musings: Stretch for perfection….

Have you ever read a book, watched a video or examined an art piece, completely enthralled, knowing in that one instant you’ve experienced perfection?  It’s exactly how I felt when I watched this video the first time.  All I could do was lean back in my office chair in awe of the beauty these Chinese acrobats were creating with their bodies.  Perfection.  I was so bemused by my visceral response to
this unique interpretation of “Swan Lake” I couldn’t help but share it with you today.

Perfection. It’s what I strive for when I’m working on one of my novels. I’m not saying every word that drips off my fingertips to the keyboard must be rimmed with gold.  I don’t need the angels to weep for the beauty of my prose.  Actually, these kinds of expectations stand in my way if I’m never satisfied with what I’ve written.  No.  What I strive to create is that moment I feel a sense of completion when one sentence, or one paragraph, a scene captures the vision in my head.  It’s when I finish a scene and know, know, I can tweak and tweak and never recapture it just that way again.

I have no illusions I’ll ever achieve true perfection in my novels.  There will always be a different word I can use, another phrase.  My heroes can be hunkier, my heroines more sympathetic.  But, if I’m lucky, there will be one moment in time when one of my readers will sit back and sigh in awe at something I’ve written. It doesn’t have to be because I wrote the perfect story or the perfect hero, or even the perfect murder. I’ll settle for a single line. And another. Then another.


Because, someday I want someone to turn back the page and reread what I wrote just for the pure pleasure of it.  That is the day I’ll achieve perfection.

Until the next time.

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4 Responses to Monday Musings: Stretch for perfection….

  1. Hi Karen,

    I think that is a terrific goal, to someday still love what you’ve written. I know when I look back at my first endeavors I will want a red pen to edit them, but to do the best you can now and look back and say “Hey, not bad.” That I will aspire to!

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Oh, I have no illusions I won’t be tempted to grab a red pen either. We learn so much as we write each book, we change, so we can’t help but spot things we wish we’d done differently the first time. I think that’s part of being a writer.

    However, I can look back at some earlier short contemporaries I wrote that I still like and hope to publish someday. I’d revise them first but there are portions I’d leave alone. It’s encouraging.

  3. Hi Karen!
    I can so identify with your sentiment. Every time I look at my WIP, I still see words I could have and maybe should have improved. If there are some flecks of gold in the 390 pages of Loyal to the Crown, I will be happy. I strive to be perfect in the delivery of a clean, correct manuscript but know perfection otherwise is well nigh impossible. Great post!

  4. Karen Docter says:

    Hi, Elaine.

    I think we all try to find our bits and pieces of perfection in whatever we do. It’s human nature. Like you, I try to make sure my manuscript is presented as near to perfect as I can get it. I do love those days, though, when something I’ve written shines as well.

    As a Type-A personality, I do have a critical editor with ten-inch talons embedded in my shoulder, but that’s another blog! 🙂 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!


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