The intensity of my sentence fixation varies from piece to piece. In drafting some stories, there’s no immediate need for me to preen over the sentences because there is a strongly felt thing driving the writing and demanding precise arrangements. The strongly felt thing is a helpful condition. It is a powerful arbiter of no and yes. Its exact nature is hard to pin down. It might be fear of death.
When I can’t conjure a strongly felt thing, which is very often, the sentence can serve the opposite function. The sentence can look for it, can probe to legitimize its own existence. I find, though, that these sentences—even after they’ve tapped into something interesting—never feel as alive to me as their channeled cousins. The fakers hide well, but I know who they are.
Both kinds go into all drafts, but some stories are charmed, others cruel. The big trick is fixing it so people can’t tell the difference.
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