Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting Out of My Own Way

I have had many irritating thoughts as I've moved things around in my revision.  "I can't move that scene forward--I'm going to lose that great first line", and "But if I move that, then I'm going to have to change those two words."  These thoughts have frustrated my revising and kept me from moving forward.  There are words and ideas that are good, very good--that I love--that I must change to make things work the way they should.  And I'm reticent to change.  Normally I have no problem throwing everything, and anything away, but these past few months, I've been getting in my own way.  It took me a whole trip to Chicago, a trip where I wanted to focus at least my thoughts on my writing, to get past myself.  I finally committed to the new direction of this novel--a direction I had chosen months and months ago.

Maybe it sounds like I'm saying that I'm the wall impeding my own progress, but it's not that at all.  I'm standing in my own way for a good reason.  I want to block my own progress until I'm really sure that I'm heading in the right direction. Because as my alpha can attest, I can seriously go off on the wrong tangents at times.  So, blocking my own way is necessary to get where I need to go.  I reconsider and reconsider until the direction is clear.  And now it is.  That doesn't mean that it's going to be easy.  But, I've climbed over the wall that I've built for myself, and from here, I can at least see the rest of this revision.

I signed up for writeoncon today--who's with me??

And, looking for Steve's answers to your awesome questions from last week's Friday Feature?  He answered them in this post at his blog.  Thanks, Steve!

Stay tuned for this week's Friday's Feature, with the fantastic Natalie Aguirre, whom you might have met at inkwell.

So, what gets in your way during revisions (or drafting)--time, obligations, you?  How do you get beyond the walls that stand in your way?


  1. I have the same issue! I don't want to give up a scene or a line and changing direction forces it out. I have to remind myself the the entire WiP is not set up for one great line of dialogue.

    The other thing that trips me up is even recognizing that things can change. I get so caught up in it the in my head, it's like history. "Well, it wouldn't make any sense to do this here because XYZ thing happened last week!"

    Uh, no it didn't. That was in my head. Typing it into my laptop did not make it historical fact.

    Go, Heather! Revise away!

  2. "Typing it into my laptop did not make it historical fact."

    LOL--I do this same thing. It's funny how real our made up characters and situations become! Hopefully some of these great, but deleted lines will make way for a great storyline. :)

  3. Oh, excellently stated, Laurel!

    It really IS hard to see the proper path of revisions through the walls that we created in our WIP, walls that seem oh-so real, but in reality, are just little electronic bits in the computer.

    And yes, Heather -- a single line of dialogue can block us, if we don't want to give it up.

    Some of the most important learning experiences I've had in the past year resulted from writing a screenplay which absolutely HAD to come in under 120 pages. (Each page = approx 1 minute screen time, and unless you've got Harry Potter in the title, you've got to write a screenplay for under 2 hours.)

    Revisions (especially cutting scenes) are painful, but so is childbirth!

  4. I do the same thing sometimes. I had this whole subplot in my manuscript that was beautifully written but not related to the plot enough that it took me many revisions and many people telling me to cut it before I finally did. And now I still may have more precious words to cut.

    I'm signed up for writeoncon too though I'll be there during lunch breaks and at night.

    See you tomorrow!

  5. It is so hard to cut your carefully crafted words, but I KNOW you'll be thrilled with the results. Revision is the way to go. Oh and I just registered for Writeoncon! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Perfecting sentences, no doubt. And hacking my favorite sentences.

  7. kill your darlings heather. they may be great words, but if they are the wrong words in the wrong place you need to find that magic delete key.

    good luck with your edits.

  8. Heather, I'm having the same problems with my WIP. I decided in March the new direction of it. (Something had to change so it gelled better with the main character.) But it took me until June to figure out the plot points. Then when it came to writing out those final scenes this week, I still couldn't do it.

    Know I'm cheering you on as you edit.

  9. Gosh, it is so hard!

    But I do like that line, Kate. Kill your darlings! I really have had a hard time learning that words cannot be precious to me as a writer, they have to be a dime a dozen. I have to trust there are still good ones coming.

  10. Sometimes I know what will make the story better, but because it's hard, I hesitate doing it. Not very admirable, I know.