17 May 2013

Ugh, did I write that?

Good ideas do go bad.

I remember the first 'review' I received regarding Camille from DREAM WALK was not so stunning. I wanted a vulnerable heroine who had been kicked around by life and still had to stand on her own two feet. That's what I thought I wrote. Apparently my first scenes were not up to par. A kind but blunt critique partner told me: "Your heroine is a wimp."

Ouch! But she was right. And luckily, it was early enough in the story that I didn't have to tweak too much to make her a more palatable character. I managed to turn my shy, scared heroine into a woman who could kick butt when needed. Oh, she was still shy. She still jumped at shadows and really did not want to talk to the dead. She wanted to run and hide. But she faced her problems -- and her demon and her hero -- head-on.

From this experience I learned that a story being good or bad is most often in the execution of the details. So from now on, we I discover a good idea seems to be falling flat, I ask myself: "Is it really bad or am I just writing it that way?" and "How can I tell?"

Simple. Ask someone I trust to read it and tell me what they think. Or put it aside for a bit, go back to it with fresh eyes. If I find myself groaning out loud, then I know it's time to either scrap it or begin again.

Ugh. Beginning again is really not fun. But that is part of what this art is about: doing it over until you get it right.

Meg Allison


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