Friday, December 2, 2011

Dead Horses Don't Gallop

As a writer have you ever written your way into a corner? I have plenty of times. I've been looking through my works in progress and a couple of works still in the planning stages. Even with all the homework and research I do prior to writing...I still get stuck. I'm sure I'm not alone.

I'll be about 20 K into a story line and then hit a brick wall. Not an ordinary brick wall...this one is ten feet high and as far as the eye can see. Usually at this point I only have a couple of options...

Try editing and rewriting. If it's really bad then it time to cut my loses and quit. I've always heard you can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink. This is true. If a horse doesn't want to drink you can stick his whole head under water and it will drown before it drinks.

The same goes for writing. You can agonize over words, passages, chapters, and even WHOLE manuscripts...if it don't work then it isn't going to.  It's the smartest thing I've learned about this craft...when to say "enough" and quit trying to make a dead horse gallop.

It's a hard realization to make. But why beat a dead horse. You want your novel to be a galloping stallion in the marketplace. To shine, to be the best it can be, and sell!  If you think the story isn't right, you can bet your readers do too.

So what do you do with your ugly baby? Do you weep copiously as you feed your paper shredder what may have taken you months to write?

Nooooo! I hear you. I keep my ugly babies. Even with horrible manuscripts there are a few gems in there. I've been known to cut favorite passages out and paste them into a saved document. Little scenes and snippets can be altered into another life in another story line.

Remember as an indie author, you are more than just one book. The pieces become a collage of a novel you can write...the galloping horse. As a child in school, I image you cut pictures out of magazines and pasted them together to form a new face...that's exactly what I'm talking about doing with your dead horse. The creative process is just that a process. Not everything is bad. You may have written one gorgeous sunset, one character who will not be shushed, but the story is all wrong for it. Write another story. Weave that sunset or character into the new story line. Above all...

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

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