by Jennifer Faye
Are you a writer?
If so, read on…
Do you have any of these symptoms?
- a stress headache
- a deepening frown
- a growing aversion to your computer
- when sitting down to continue writing your manuscript, you feel an overwhelming urge to toss your computer out the window
- and the most worrisome symptom of all—the urge to do housework rather than write
If you have/had any combination of the above symptoms then this month’s post is for you.
No, this isn’t a health related post.
Well, at least not your physical health. But rather I’m talking about the health of your manuscript.
As I was writing book #6, the first book in my Italian brother duet, I was going along just fine aka following my normal writing routine and life was good. Then I came to a critical juncture for my characters—the moment when the relationship changes.
Instead of getting excited and my fingers racing over the keyboard, each word came to me slower and slower. It got to a point where the writing became a struggle. Each time I sat down at the keyboard my head would start to throb. My manuscript was ill and with each word I typed it was getting worse and worse.
Panic set in. My gut twisted in a knot. I was in trouble. My book was off the rails. And it was my job to fix it. But how? And where?
Suddenly laundry and dishes looked like mini-vacations. Even dusting was taking on a new tempting quality. This was not a good—not good at all. When housework tops working on one of my stories, I know I’m in a world of trouble.
If you’re a writer you know what a scary feeling it is to be stuck…especially when the ending chapters are in sight. There has to be a way out of this. I hoped.
Tired of the frowns, the grouchiness and the stress headaches, I sat down at my computer. I backed up a few chapters and started reading. The story sounded pretty good. So when I got to the end of that chapter, I stopped reading. I didn’t want to read the bad stuff—the parts that had me drifting off course.
So what did I do?
I wrote new words. I listened to what my characters were telling me and referred to my synopsis, something I’d drifted away from doing the first time around. And I wrote some more words.
Then I stopped and read over the new stuff. And would you believe that it didn’t sound so bad? In fact, it sounded pretty good. And best off all, the words were flowing again. I was back in the groove again.
Without even reading a word of the chapters I’d written before, I deleted them. Yes, I lost a lot of word count and hard won words, but I felt so much better with them gone. It was like a weight had been lifted. I’d never been so happy to have a net loss of words for the day.
After cutting away the rotten words, I breezed through to the end. And I liked what I wrote.
The point is if I hadn’t recognized the signs, I might have thought that it was me. I was bored. Or I had lost focus. I might have chased another plot bunny. But I’d been down this road before and I remembered the feeling of dread. It meant I’d taken a wrong turn in my story.
But to be honest, I did give it a couple of days just to make sure that my diagnosis was spot on. I’m never one to make hasty decisions. Soon I was sure of my diagnosis. The solution being, chop away the misguided words and start anew.
Cutting away part of your story is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary to get to the good stuff—so that the writing is fun again and the words flow.
Now it’s your turn. If you have any questions on your mind, feel free to ask them. I won’t promise that I’ll have an answer, but I’ll do my best.
Jennifer Faye’s new release,SAFE IN THE TYCOON'S ARMS, is available now! Find out what happens when Kate meets up with New York’s Bachelor-of-the-Year. Online at Amazon,Amazon-UK & B&N as well as other locations.
Jennifer would love to hear from readers. You can contact her via her website.