This happens to me a lot when I’m editing my novel(s), and I’m sure this happens to other writers:
There’s that scene, that dialogue, that character that just isn’t working for you. You hate it. You’ve tried this, you’ve tried that. You’ve worked it over and over again, mulled over it, tried to push forward, slogged through no man’s land and back again, but no matter what you do, what changes you make, you still hate it and still want to hurl it into the inferno.
So the big question is: Why haven’t you thrown it into the inferno? Why have you been trying so hard to save it? Why have you even bothered when you hate it so much?
The answer? I have no idea. I think we writers sometimes get stuck thinking that we need this thing, that if we got rid of it the whole tower would come tumbling down and smash us in the process.
But honestly? That’s a lie. We don’t need it.
All those scenes that you hate, that are boring, the parts of the story that annoy you, that don’t quite seem to work, that get in the way –
GET RIDE OF THEM FOR PETE’S SAKE
I hold onto them a lot, thinking that they are crucial to the story. But they’re really not, I can put something better in their place.
As I’ve said before, sometimes the best thing you can do is delete.
It’s a very freeing feeling. Instead of saying “I have to make this work” , say “do I need this to work?”
If no? Get rid of it. AND, I promise you, if you hate that part in your story, there’s a large part your reader will as well. And even of they would like – you’re the author, and if the author ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
(I don’t know why that had to be in all caps, maybe just because I don’t want you to miss it. Nothing dramatic has happened…yet)
I started reading through my Beowulf retelling. Once it stuck midnight and it was June 1st, I crawled in my bed and started reading, as excited as if I was going to the midnight showing of a movie.
Some things about it: this kid’s age keeps changing, another person’s name changed like three times, another changes twice (because I forget I already gave him a name. Whoops), and there is such a prolific amount of typos you can tell I was writing at 500 mph. It’s a glorious disaster in other words.
I went to see Avengers: Endgame AGAIN, and though the grief is still too near, I knew I would kick myself later if I didn’t see it twice in theaters.
Oh, I’m also sending Silver to my editor today (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH)