The Patient Writer

Are you like me? I always rush my ending because I want to be done already. I catch it in revision, but there’s another problem: by the time I get to that point of the manuscript, I want the rewrite to be over. I have to really be careful and catch myself. I caught myself today.

I remember going over this ending with my critique group several months ago. At the time, I had one person who was really tough on me. This person never said so directly, but I knew by their comments that they did not like my writing. Still, I was able to cut through the BS and get to the feedback I knew I needed. It only took about six months:)

I was busy doing other things, getting two other novels published, but still, criticism can sometimes sting so much that it takes me a long time to look at it without emotion and actually use the advice that I know is right and leave the trash talk behind. I spent a lot of time this past six months thinking about what I could do to make that black moment tighter, more real, blacker.

One of the things I did wrong with this ending is let my character act like an idiot when someone commits a crime that blows up her world. My critic said “she should call the police right away” and I didn’t want that to happen.  So, after her initial actions end in frustration, I had her go swimming. In my defense, I wanted my character to try to fix things herself at first and I wanted to show how her grief overwhelms her when she can’t.

The way I wrote it, she never contacts the police. Now I realize she has to do that after her initial actions fail (not “first” like my critic suggested)  instead of jumping in the freezing cold lake in her sweatshirt and jeans. I had to do a little research on the difference between city police, local sheriff, state police. Did you know it’s a “police station” and a “sheriff’s office”? Neither did I. But I needed to know. Sometimes what makes me push on when I need to stop and rewrite is something as insignificant like not wanting to stop the momentum to look up a quick fact or two.

I am not a patient person, but to write well, you need a lot of patience, so I try to cultivate what little I have when I am in writing mode. And just by slowing down, thinking things through, I got a really good idea this morning on how to get my character through her black moment without compromising her core values.

0 Comments on “The Patient Writer

  1. You could be writing my re – writing story here, I sooo tend to speed up rewriting the end of the novel, as by the time I get there, it’s almost as if I want it over, and I have to force myself to slow down and really think ‘is this the ending this novel needs’ most of the time the answer is NO! lol, maybe the right thing to do would be to start the next rewrite at the end of the novel, and then begin again What do you think? lol

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  2. Wrote the new scene today and it is great. So much better than a swim in the lake! More realistic and also more tension. Glad I got that done. I’ve been so busy and yet have managed to write every morning for a few hours before I tend to conference business:)

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  3. There are so many possible endings to every story. My first ending had my heroine being a black belt karate level expert and her foe had a gun that she kicked out of hand. Crazy! I had never introduced anything about karate loving in my heroine’s character before that…this manuscript has come a long way from there.

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  4. Bridgina, Starting at the end with revision does sound right, but my mind is so narrow I have to lock step from first word to last. However, I do take a lot of time re-thinking my ending. So I think that counts.

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