Writing Requires Guts

It has been said our gut is our second brain, and for more reasons beyond writing, I believe it’s true.  I’ll save you all the ghastly details and stick to my writing gut issues.

When a story line hits me, it pulls me in deep.  I get tunnel vision.  I can see the plot playing out as if I’m watching a movie.  With every key stroke I take my characters through the events that will forever change their lives.  Sometimes I’m as surprised as they are when something happens or someone unexpected shows up in a scene.  The bones that provide the structure for my pieces come from my gut.

Then I continue on to another part of the story.  Those earlier scenes are left to settle.  When the dust clears, I look over my shoulder and start to doubt what I wrote.  Is this character convincing?  Does that relationship work?  The next thing I know, I’m deleting sections and replacing them with what I think the reader might enjoy more.  The whole time, there is a tight feeling in my belly telling me to stop.  My gut informing me that the structure was there.  If I keep dissecting it, I’m going to bring the whole thing crashing to the ground.

I had a little lesson this week.  I made the mistake of digging back into the opening scenes of my main manuscript.  Despite glowing reviews from my beta readers, I wondered if I could make it better.  I started deleting.  Hundreds of words wiped from the file.  I didn’t want to get my documents confused, so I did a new backup and deleted the first version.  Then I resubmitted to my betas.  Guess what?  The first pass was the best.  Did it require edits?  Of course!  Should the story’s structure have been changed?  No!  Do I have the original to work with?  No, because I’m a dumb ass.  Thankfully the first version’s PDF was floating around on my hard drive.  I can’t copy and paste as I lose my formatting, but I do have the opportunity to retype those scenes.  I am viewing that task like writing “I will label my backups by date.  I will not delete them.” on the chalkboard one hundred times.

My stories are like children.  Each one unique with different needs and personalities.  As a parent to a real little girl, I have learned that if my gut tells me something, I better go with it.  Ignoring is a mistake every time.  It’s time to save my sanity and my tummy and go with my gut every time with my writing.  May this post save you the word casualties I have suffered.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Requires Guts

  1. Wow, at least you had that PDF! I once lost 11 pages of a 12 page paper after spilling coffee across the keyboard. Of course I had not saved and this was in the days before “autosave.” I just have to trust the second version was better. 🙂

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