Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sometimes It Is Better To Start Over

I've been working with one of my writers on a project of hers. After a discussion with her yesterday, we both came to the same agreement about some of the writing. It is better to trash it and start from the beginning.

This is certainly something no writer wants to deal with, but in this business, sometimes we have to face the truth. The darn story simply cannot be fixed. In many ways, it's like having that car of yours, the one you love, run into problems and the cost to fix it is much more than the cost of getting a new car.

I think, in all honesty, many writers simply try too hard to fix something that can't be fixed. They revise and they edit. They delete sections and write new sections. And all of this work continually yields the same response from editos and agents -"The story isn't right."

The problem further becomes painful when you think of that story as your little baby. You saw it grow from a little fragment of an idea jotted in the margins of your business department weekly agenda to the completed story with a "THE END." You love it and it is just too hard to say goodbye. But you have to.

The simple truth is the story was likely DOA from the beginning. No matter how many revisions and edits you would have done to it, nothing would have helped. But this is a fact of life and something all writers have to deal with.

So, if you are stuck in a situation like this. Smile. Give the story a big hug. Find a great box that you would have for Christmas or a birthday and wrap that prized possession up. Sit it next to your desk in a wonderful place so it can get all of the light from outside and inspire you with your next project.



  1. I love the idea that you should give it pride of place, rather than the usual 'trunk it' advice.

  2. But it's a corpse! Display it briefly and then bury it, I say.

  3. This is true. I don't know how many copies I've discarded and had to start over as new and fresh.

  4. I love the idea of putting the junker in its own special place until the next book is finished. Then you can look at how atrocious it really was and laugh!

  5. Or Kindle it and see what happens.

  6. Obviously, you're so very right (thought my heart hurts just thinking about it). I wonder what it takes to get to that point when you don't have a professional to help push you in that direction.

  7. I think this is why critique partners/groups are so important. It's good to get advice when the book is in it's infant stages so you can address issues before working so hard to finish it.

    Good advice. I'm following your blog now.