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No More Excuses, Writers

Anonymous asked: “I can’t seem to fall in love with my story. I have reworked it and tweaked it 100 times over, but every time I finally think I’m happy with it it starts to fall apart because I start to hate one little problem in it. I’m in love with the characters, which makes me want to stick through it, but I’m at a loss for what to do. Maybe no plot or world will ever be good enough for me…”

It’s okay to feel this way from time to time about your novel, but don’t let yourself bask in this feeling for too long, because it’s going to wear you down.

Stealing Tim Gunn’s catchphrase for a minute – you’ve got to make it work. So, your story isn’t working right now, you’re the only one who can fix it. Sometimes that means taking a step back and coming up with a plot line that you don’t hate. It can be loose at first, but as you work on it, more detail comes into it. There will be more dimension, more layers, a fuller plot. It might mean going back to a scene you hated and saying, “What can be done to make this more interesting?” 

Often the thing with boring scenes is that nothing is happening. If what’s happening is that characters are sitting around and talking, try to imagine it on a stage. What’s going on in the room? What’s intriguing about their actions and body language? Are the characters saying what they mean or is there more to the story? 

Another thing, sometimes you can’t get a scene to be great, you’ll just have to move on to the next one. Keep conflict in mind as you write. What’s are the characters at odds about? Even friends in novels are often bickering – look at Harry Potter. For like half of the series, Hermione and Ron aren’t speaking because of something one or the other did. They’re constantly fighting. 

So, if you did love it at one point, it might mean back tracking a little, reconsidering what you’d loved and then rewriting with that as the focus. It might be time consuming, but I swear I’ve probably been doing that for the last six months. I go along writing my novel and then I hit a road bump that I don’t like, I back-track and try to figure out what I did like and adjust the novel to focus more on that. I think I’m finally now on a good track to get to where I want it to go. It’s not perfect, but it’s significantly closer and it also hits much more specifically on all the things I’d wanted to cover. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough and with your first draft. I think good enough is really the goal to strive for. 

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