The Fourth Act

on Jul 10, 2014 by L.E. Franks

Perspective is important for a writer. And I’ve discovered I have none. Not really.

Gone are all the illusions that I once held about my writing talent—that it is inviolate and absolute…and as ready to leap to my call as the first gush of water from a turn of the spigot.

Last November I murdered the last shreds of confidence retained from the all accolades heaped upon my youthful and undisciplined brow by all the professors I admired, and later all the employers who appreciated my skill with a report or SEC filing.

Those three weeks in November taught me something I’d never known before: Writing is hard and the words are more likely to kick you in the face and knock out all your teeth then they are to slip elegantly into place on the page.

And it hurts.

If you’re lucky you have a circle of friends (preferably other, better, nicer writers) who will hold your metaphoric hair out of the way of your word vomit, clean you up and send you back into the fray. (Maybe I should use a Rocky boxing simile instead. Shit. Do I even remember if it’s a simile and not an analogy or a metaphor?) See? This is what we do. We second-guess every choice, every sentence, every name for every character we use. (Why do I want to call every MC I write Nick?)

If we can just get through to the other side, to the “The End” we can find release.

That is until we read it through and find that all our painful labor, all those perfected word choices, were wrong and we’re left with a manuscript that stinks like an alley behind a fish market in July.

Perspective. If you’re a mother you already know that labor is a bloody mess and no body (least of all the kid) comes out of it looking and smelling like roses. But given some time, and a little clean up by our stalwart editors, eventually you may change your mind and be pleasantly surprised.

Did I do that? Write that?

And sometimes our critics will remind us that yes, yes we did. And we should be ashamed of ourselves. But mostly it’s just us. We are our own worst critics. As a group we’re always so surprised and delighted when good things come from our writing.

As if it was by chance and not by our combined blood, sweat, and talent.

I admire anyone who can pull up a chair and create a world from words. But I don’t often appreciate it in myself anymore, so I was surprised when I pulled up that story that stomped all over me and tied me in knots. Reading it for the first time since I hit “send” last year was a revelation.

Did I write that?

Yeah. It only took me eight months to regain my perspective.

Find Me

WebsiteBlogFacebook PageTwitterTumblr

About L.E. Franks

LE Franks lives in the SF Bay area and writes M/M Romance in a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast paced stories filled with emotion and passion and featuring characters that are quirky and complicated and sometimes a little bit dark. LE Franks is a best selling author Published through MLR Press, Dreamspinner Press and Wilde City Press and is a 2013 Rainbow Awards Finalist for Prodigal Wolf, a paranormal romance co-written with Sara York, available at MLR Press, Amazon and online bookstores.

Perspective is important for a writer. And I’ve discovered I have none. Not really.

Gone are all the illusions that I once held about my writing talent—that it is inviolate and absolute…and as ready to leap to my call as the first gush of water from a turn of the spigot.

Last November I murdered the last shreds of confidence retained from the all accolades heaped upon my youthful and undisciplined brow by all the professors I admired, and later all the employers who appreciated my skill with a report or SEC filing.

Those three weeks in November taught me something I’d never known before: Writing is hard and the words are more likely to kick you in the face and knock out all your teeth then they are to slip elegantly into place on the page.

And it hurts.

If you’re lucky you have a circle of friends (preferably other, better, nicer writers) who will hold your metaphoric hair out of the way of your word vomit, clean you up and send you back into the fray. (Maybe I should use a Rocky boxing simile instead. Shit. Do I even remember if it’s a simile and not an analogy or a metaphor?) See? This is what we do. We second-guess every choice, every sentence, every name for every character we use. (Why do I want to call every MC I write Nick?)

If we can just get through to the other side, to the “The End” we can find release.

That is until we read it through and find that all our painful labor, all those perfected word choices, were wrong and we’re left with a manuscript that stinks like an alley behind a fish market in July.

Perspective. If you’re a mother you already know that labor is a bloody mess and no body (least of all the kid) comes out of it looking and smelling like roses. But given some time, and a little clean up by our stalwart editors, eventually you may change your mind and be pleasantly surprised.

Did I do that? Write that?

And sometimes our critics will remind us that yes, yes we did. And we should be ashamed of ourselves. But mostly it’s just us. We are our own worst critics. As a group we’re always so surprised and delighted when good things come from our writing.

As if it was by chance and not by our combined blood, sweat, and talent.

I admire anyone who can pull up a chair and create a world from words. But I don’t often appreciate it in myself anymore, so I was surprised when I pulled up that story that stomped all over me and tied me in knots. Reading it for the first time since I hit “send” last year was a revelation.

Did I write that?

Yeah. It only took me eight months to regain my perspective.


The Fourth Act


Excerpt from The Fourth Act:

The central heating kicked on, swirling warm air around my ankles reminding me that everything from my knees down is soaked. I look around.

No one is here to complain about me dumping a wet parka on the floor but I hook it over the door handle to drip anyway—nostalgic for Jordan’s fussy house-husbandry—and begin a brisk strip tease for absolutely no one at all.

It’s harder than I expected once I toe off my shoes. My cheap-ass parka has left me wet in patches, undershirt sticking to my back.

I’m clammy and uncomfortable and out of patience, which is my only excuse for pulling the entire damp mess over my head—my arms getting hung up in the damp cotton and the buttons I’d forgotten to release.

I sway, disorientation settling around me as I suffocate in a damp cocoon, struggling to solve a puzzle of sleeves, necklines, and inconvenient ear and nose placement.

Totally blind I tilt sideways, tripping over my shoes and that stupid little table of Jordan’s until I find the front door with my forehead, metal pinging from the contact. Slumping forward, I feel like an ass.

A warm hand slides slowly up the skin of my back, and I freeze. Soft, soft lips nuzzle under the cotton bunching around my shoulders, and one kiss on my trapezius has me relaxing. Jordon. It’s his favorite spot to kiss.

Jordan…” that’s odd—my normal speaking voice has gone all quivery.

“Happy birthday baby.” Jordan’s salutation, murmured against my skin, sinks into my bones and blood, riding along on kisses that seem to go straight through me.

He pulls my entangled arms over my head and I feel his long slim artist’s fingers unbutton my cuffs in reverse, releasing my hands though he makes no move to pull my shirt all the way off—in fact he’s taken steps to pin me against the door with his body, my arms still held overhead.  I can’t see anything from behind this white cotton veil.

Copyright © 2014 L.E. Franks. All rights reserved.


About L.E. Franks

LE Franks lives in the SF Bay area and writes M/M Romance in a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast paced stories filled with emotion and passion and featuring characters that are quirky and complicated and sometimes a little bit dark. LE Franks is a best selling author Published through MLR Press, Dreamspinner Press and Wilde City Press and is a 2013 Rainbow Awards Finalist for Prodigal Wolf, a paranormal romance co-written with Sara York, available at MLR Press, Amazon and online bookstores.


Find L.E. Franks:


1 Comment

  1. lefranks says:

    Reblogged this on LE Franks, writer and commented:
    My Perspective – today I blogged over at Michael Rupured’s blog…