Our Thoughts


February 23, 2015

Get Honest With Your Work

You've written the first draft of your novel, memoir, or clicked save on the proposal. You relax back in your chair, stretch, smile. You feel liberated. You feel elated. You feel settled.

Then you're eating dinner and you overhear something on the television that makes you think you maybe need to add a scene to your book. Or maybe you are in the shower and suddenly you're thinking that maybe what you're trying to say isn't really coming across.

Next thing you know, you're sitting back at your computer with the understanding that you might have been done earlier, but not so much now.

Saying we're done as writers sometimes means we're only done for right now.

We are done for right now, because we went through our manuscript once with one question in mind. Then once we answered that question we move on to the next question. We go back time and again, because we are trying to see our work differently each time. Each time trying to fill in the gaps, open the tight spots, connect all of it back to that big dreaded question of what's the point.

If we don't go back to our work to answer the questions then it's pretty much guaranteed that others are going to be asking the same questions during and after reading what we've written.

Of course we all want to be done. And in this age of instant everything sometimes we think all it should take is one try and submit. We all want the book to capture our audience and express our vision the first time out. But if we let ourselves think this is a possibility all we're doing is fooling ourselves.

Most of us like to live unconsciously or in a world of make believe because we don't want to face the reality of a situation. We prefer to ignore signs, thinking it's easier to be blind that it is to see. And of course it's easier to pretend a situation away than to face it.

What happens when we ignore the truth of a situation? We pitch to agents too early and face rejection. We get angry that our dream is not coming due. We start going down to negative town, thinking we aren't great writers, this is never going to come to anything, I can't do it.

But if we face our work and are willing to go back and answer our own questions then it can become something great.

Think for a minute about the kinds of questions you'd want to ask to produce a better end product?

- What is the point of my story? By the end have I succeeded in proving my point?
- What emotions do I want my characters to evoke? Are the responses, scenes, the best ones I could use to show the emotion I want to convey?
- What scenes don't match with the narrative? Do I need to take them out? Are they distracting?
- Is all of this writing my attempt to get the story out without really knowing what the story is?

and my most favorite one

- Would I want to read my own book?

I love the above question because if the answer is no, well, then I sure as fire know someone else ain't going to want to read it either.

If you were to get honest with your work what would that look like? Sure it will take time, but believe me when I say you have more than enough time to complete all that you need to.

Let me know if this post sparks any questions.



There are no comments for this entry yet.

Submit A Comment




Please enter the word you see in the image below: