Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tough Love

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. To yourself that is. One of the books I’m currently working on has for a long time presented me with a huge mental block. The first 30k words are fine, but then I would zone out and couldn't progress. The following 20k words just weren’t doing it for me.

So I pressed delete. Hours of work gone just like that. But the weights have been lifted from my eyes, the restraints of the previous plot threads gone and now I am able to look at it with fresh eyes. The reason that section wasn’t working was because it was forced, not organic. I was trying to force my characters to be something they weren’t for the sake of a pre-determined plot line.

Now they have room to grow. I’m not entirely sure what will become of them at this point, but having written more in a day than I had in several months on this particular book, I know I’ve made the right decision.

Sometimes you just have to admit when something isn’t working and go back to the drawing board. On this occasion, at least, I’m glad I did.


  1. ooh that sounds like a very hard thing to do! Well done though (that isn't meant to sound patronising)

  2. Deleting 20k is a brave thing to do. I've been there and like you spent months wondering what to do - it's horrible to have to delete such a large amount of work, but if it means you are reenergised for the projet, then them's the dice!

    I take it your not a plotter then? I am, and struggle with the letting the story grow naturally, or fit into a plot. I've almost got a blended approach. But it's never easy.

  3. Brave, or mad?! Seems to have done the trick though, at least for the moment. As far as plotting depends on the book. Some have very clear plots in place when I start, others I make up as I go. Personally, I prefer the latter because it's more exciting. But it doesn't always end well! :)

  4. So pleased you shifted the block. I had one last year when I was trying to force myself to write a Mills & Boon novel. I knew something was wrong when my characters began discussing the pattern in the living room curtains!