Writing

iLesson: Move along

Here is a lesson that I never seem to learn.

I’m working on a scene. And it’s a thinky sort of scene, where I’m trying to get a lot of information across, or perhaps a lot of emotion across, and I’m second guessing myself about how much is too much exposition and/or introspection, and how much is not enough to get the point across to the reader. I’ll work for DAYS on, say, three pages. (I know. I KNOW!)

roundabout-2010-07-15-08-00.pngThen I’ll decide that I don’t really need that explanation anyway. Or, it was better in the first draft. Or I want to put it in a different place entirely.

And even worse! These pages aren’t really terribly important to the A plot. They are fine details of the character’s internal journey, or tweaks to the world building, or… basically, they’re not structural. They’re design details.

The moral of the story is, when you bog down on things like that, it’s easy to go in circles, writing, rewriting, and generally second guessing yourself. The best thing to do at that point is to throw the whole scene away and start over move on to the next chapter or scene.

Too often, I find myself changing stuff just to change it. When all I’m doing is moving paragraphs around, it’s time to move along.

The important thing is to not stall out. Don’t let the minutia of your book keep you from finishing it. Leave that battle so you can go one to win the war over the manuscript. You’ll be coming back to that scene later, anyway. As with anything, tackling the big stuff first will allow you to more clearly see the fine details that need to be finessed.

1 thought on “iLesson: Move along”

  1. Thanks for this reminder; I'm guilty of moving paragraphs around. I've become an expert at chopping something off at the knees if I realize it's design details I'm obsessing over rather than plot. And I know there's a reason you used the nifty crossout rather than taking out "throw the whole scene away" cause dude, sometimes the "scene" has just gotta go. Sigh.

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