Pondering the Gut
It's been more than a week since I last wrote here, but for good reason. I have been pondering, and pondering, and questioning my gut instinct on part of the book I am working on. That's part of a writer's life. Hopefully not a major portion but a portion none the less.
When a writer starts a project that could take years because life may get in the way, or another project has been picked up and this one will pay, then you shelve what you are working on temporarily, and as Churchill may say, bugger on.
As on proceeds with life we watch movies, read books, meet new people, perhaps join a writers group and the years may slip away as the children grow from waddlers to toddlers to explorers to - YIKES - teens. You pick up your "baby" once again - feel the pages, smell the ink, and realize that times have changed and what you have written no longer thrills you. In fact, you feel the hit in your gut by the fist of doubt! Why?
You have become more knowledgeable. You have become more seasoned. You have matured - your skill has aged like a fine wine. You are the maestros ear of a composition you created the sound of the words on the page no longer seem as sweet and musical as they in previous years. When the fist of reality hits you what do you do?
That all depends on who you are, how well you can take criticisms and what you do with it. I can't tell you what other writers do but I try to keep an open mind to constructive criticisms. I had changed the beginning to my book after considering the comments from my writers group and it’s been that way. This year I have been experiencing the dull punch in the gut. The beginning was bothering me but what about it? I went over it and changed some of it. I polished it. I clarified it, still my gut ached and my mind would not leave me in rest: Until this week.
I pondered. I thought back. I pondered and thought back further. What had I learned these past several years of reading books I enjoyed, watching movies, reading trade magazine, books and attending writer conferences. What had I learned from speaking to other writers or the news of the publishing industry? Where was the clue, the medicine needed, to ease this punch in the gut warning that 'this is not good enough'?
I like the TV show Sherlock on the BBC. I think Steven Moffat is a genius - albeit an irritating one at times. So, I did what Sherlock, or Moffat might do. I looked at the facts and asked myself about possibilities and pondered. Pondered until the solution came to my thinking place, my muse, my heart and gut of the baby I was creating. The solution followed and I may now continue - butterflies instead of lead in my gut once again.
It was simple really. Once you ponder. For me it was not that the beginning was poor advice. Not at all. It was overkill! I had written far too much on a piece that lead into the really story. I had explained in detail how the protagonist ended up in the hospital - not a greatly important part of the book but a need to know never the less. The solution? I cut the page and one half beginning down to a short paragraph. I set the tone of drama instead boring my reader to death with unnecessary facts they did not need to know. I pondered. I remembered. I discovered the problem and corrected it. An open mind to do surgery on your 'baby' to make it better - - - and perhaps transplant that part of your 'baby' into it's sibling later on - improving two of your creations.