Listen to your gut

My favorite part of writing is that moment when you know in your gut that what you’re writing is working, it’s good, emotional, people are going to love it.

Last December I finally typed “THE END” on over two hundred thousands words of my novel. I took a little time off and then dived back in to revise. When I got to the last third, I know the revisions were going to be rough because when writing I just told myself to keep writing and not worry about making it pretty.

Now, I love a good action scene, and am confident I write them well – “I could see it like a movie in my head,” is a comment I’ve gotten more than once on my fight scenes. So imagine my surprise when I began to struggle with revising some action scenes. It was like slogging through wet cement, like pulling teeth, like shoving a boulder uphill. Those scenes just refused to work for me.

I asked for help, and plenty was offered. Each suggestion made me think, “Oh! This will fix it!” then I’d type for awhile and realize that no, it was still not working. I started inventing background romances to add tension and planned to kill off one of the rescuers to give it emotional impact.

These scenes had a purpose. They were part of the frantic tension leading up to the climax. There’s an important moment of character development that happens. I needed these scenes. But on the downside, all the characters involved are part of the supporting cast. One guy who the audience is hopefully sympathetic towards – because he got dumped pretty hard a couple scenes back – leading a group of characters who were either invented entirely for these scenes or were mentioned briefly as background characters in other scenes going to rescue another supporting character that I hoped my readers would like. Bottom line, the more I thought about it, the less I expected my readers to even care.

Finally, after a supportive phone call from a fellow Purple Ink Writer and a great deal of soul searching, I’m dumping the troublesome scenes altogether. I think the reason I was having such a hard time was the my gut was trying to tell that the scenes weren’t what I needed. They’re being replaced by a much more streamlined and simple set of scenes.

The final confirmation that I made the right choice? I struggled and fought with those scenes for something like the last two weeks. Since making the change? I wrote all of them… today.

Listen to your gut. It always knows.

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3 thoughts on “Listen to your gut

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on the revision of The Black Sunrise | Nina Kaytel

  2. I recently ran into a scene like this. I knew I had to ditch it, but I wanted it. The character who I used only had a POV scene in that scene. I read through and revised but I stepped back and wondered ‘who are you keeping this for? Does it move the plot along?’ The answer to both was no, as my gut told me.

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