By Laura Borjas
There is a challenge every writer goes through – one might call it a ‘rite of passage’ – where you smear your blood, brains and heart onto the page with no thought to style, grammar or even basic etiquette or hygiene for one month. In accomplishing this goal and passage, you feel, aside from smelly and slightly dizzy from lack of sleep, overwhelmed with pride and love for your creation! This story that you’ve had in your head is FINALLY on paper! It’s out of your head! That IS the hardest part and it’s DONE! With all the love of a tender parent, you tuck it into a folder and catch up on your sleep.
Now when you go over this massacre of a story, because that’s what it is at this point, I have one tip I would like to impart: a piece of wisdom that I WISH someone had told me sooner.
DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING!
If you dislike a concept or an entire passage scares the living hell out of you, cut and paste it into a ‘SCRAP’ file or document. Keeping ideas organised by characters is how I do things, but you find a system that works for you.
By not erasing the ideas altogether, you can keep them around to look at later. Sometimes you hit roadblocks where ideas you had before weren’t bad after all, or maybe they spark different ideas altogether. In a way, it’s an opportunity to explore ‘what ifs’ in your story.
When I come across a roadblock or something just ‘isn’t coming together’, I start a new doc and I change one major factor in the story:
Female main character is now a male and I rewrite the scene to see if it is easier to write.
The setting was in the country, but is now in the city, and I rewrite.
The story was in first person now I’m changing it to third.
I was writing it from Jack’s POV now I’m going to try and write it from Jane’s.
By doing things this way, you find the best VOICE for your story. It tests your knowledge of your story much more than those silly character sheets and maps and things.
Your story is a work in progress and your scrap file should show that. It’s something to be proud of.
About the Author
Laura B. is from Kansas, U.S.A. Writing for her started out as a venting tool, but quickly became an extension of the soul. Reading and writing go hand in hand and her Book Review blog on Tinkers Tasket will hopefully be up by the end of the year.