When the Story Changes: the Bane of Writer-dom


How many of you writers have had conversations like this:

Me: “My story changed again.”
Wife: “Well, maybe the change will make it better?”
Me: “It does! That’s why I can’t just ignore it.”
Wife: “So that’s good.”
Me: “But it means I have to redo everything I’ve spent the last month writing!”
Wife: “That’s why it’s called work.”
Me: “You know, this started as a hobby.”
Wife: “You want me to start referring to it as just a hobby?”
Me: “No.”

I had made it about 33K into my draft and I realized my pacing was off. And other things were off. Most of the perception was a nagging feeling but the other half was a slow, dawning realization that this book, that I have been working on for 12 years, on-and-off, needed yet another restructuring.

Don’t you just hate that?

I do and I don’t. I do hate it when I feel there is a problem but I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t hate this when I know what is wrong and I have a clear idea about how I need to change it in order to succeed.

So as I face the road of yet another rewrite and yet another plot structuring session, I’m tearing down to the basics. I’m poking holes in everything I had before finding out if there is another problem that has been lurking about behind my back.

In the meantime, that new idea is nagging me with its inherent shininess. “Lookit me!” she says. “I have none of that rewrite baggage! I’m full of potential and awesome!”

And I hold up the manuscript I’ve butchered over and over, “She was in line first. And I’ve grown a lot with her without becoming sick of her–DESPITE HOW DIFFICULT SHE IS BEING.” *side glare*

I’m taking a breath and moving a step back. What am I going to do? I’m not entirely sure. But as I face the end of the year sneaking up on me, I realize that I have another chance to dismiss a goal I don’t want to achieve and replace them with goals I do. But I’m still not entirely sure what that is.

It’s hard work, hey? This writing thing.


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