I will start off by just saying life loves to get in the way of writing. It’s madness! But school and computer problems and illness just always sneak up and overwhelms you when you really don’t need it. And Princess Peach, you can’t just leave her locked in the tower! I mean…it’s not right.
Anyway, the distractions aside, it is time to get back to business.
I am in the process of another re-write of my novel. At the moment the prologue is being rewritten for about the eighth time and I am finding myself at a point that most writers probably face: when you have to let go.
Except for about the first two or three editions, the book has always started with the line “Once upon a time, war was the dream of the people” and now I am finding myself so hooked on to this one sentence I have based every re-write since then on that one sentence alone.
And, like my writer’s identity, I wasn’t fully aware I was doing it until I had a slap-in-the-face realization.
My start chapter might start off with a line I am proud of, but everything following after has always sounded stale, forced, and just plain “meh”. Is that one line really worth it?
For a long time, it was.
How on earth did that happen? Though I am a writer and though I want to write a book, I can’t forget about the fact that these are just words. Though the words create something great, they are still words.
And I should not let a few words, a sentence, a paragraph, a page, or a chapter control and constrict the story as a whole. Things might be shared through the words, but they aren’t the only things that are contributing to the book.
So, I have to let these words go. Though painful, it is just what has to be done for the greater good of the novel.
I found I had to give myself a stern talking to. I needed to sit down and converse with Randi and myself before I finally deleted them and left myself with a completely blank page. It is rejuvenating, inspiring, and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Now, how to let it go? Well, in all honesty, I don’t think anyone can till they realize they are ready for it themselves. My best friend and mentor probably couldn’t get me to let it go until I was ready. Heck, the most distinguished published author probably couldn’t have gotten me to let it go either.
Because these words just mean so much during creation, and that love and pride just get in the way. Not until I or anyone else is ready can those words be deleted.
And man, once they are, I look back and go “what the heck was wrong with me?”. It feels like so much time was wasted! I could’ve let it go earlier and moved on! But I have to remember:
Not until I am ready. And everyone goes at their own proper, healthy, right pace. Rushing, typically, just won’t help. I think pushing myself is good, to work and try to get things accomplished after so long of not writing or to meet a goal…but like the words; that time-line is not worth the destruction of the story!
That, I think, is what the kicker is. When the realization that the story is worth more than this one lovely thing, then everything starts to fall more into play. But it does stink waiting for that moment to finally click.
What about your experience? Has there been something that you just struggled with letting go? Please share!