Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On getting sick of your writing

As authors, we go through a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to our own writing. We love the concept, but hate this scene we can't get quite right. We adore our main character, but hate that the villain seems to one-sided. We call in and out of love with many aspects of our stories.

I'm at this stage with The Unanswerable where I am sick of it. I wrote it two years ago, rewrote it earlier this year, edited it once a month ago, and now I'm editing it again.

There's a few scenes that I hate because they aren't right yet. There's a few scenes that I adore because they make me cry or bite my nails because they are spot on.

But I'm sick of my own story. Trying to make the blah scenes pop with the vitality they should have is frustrating. Combing over the good scenes to make them the best they can be is tedious. I've read the story too many times to have a fresh perspective. The concept, and the story itself, are starting to feel stale.

So what now? When your inspiration and motivation for a piece are gone, what do you do?

I force myself to edit it one more time, and then I pass it off to an alpha reader--in this case, my husband. He's my concept developer. When I want to make sure the story works, I ask him. He points out weak scenes, tells me what I've done well, and provides me with a fresh look on my writing.

Getting sick of my own work doesn't mean the story is bad. It means I need a new set of eyes; someone else to be nit-picky. I need someone to confirm, "Yes, this is a flaw" or tell me, "No, you're being overly critical."

Developmental feedback can be obtained through alpha readers, friends, or even a developmental editor. If you find your eyes glazing over at your own words, it's time for another person to step in.

Don't worry, The Unanswerable is still on its way to being published, even if I am sick of it. I still think it's a powerful story, I just can't figure out how to punch up the scenes that need work.

The second set of eyes always helps.


If you are looking for more advice on editing, consider reading Why We Edit, an article I wrote for the independent author collective, The Scriptors.

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