Wow, did things get tense today! 1252 words, and 22,234 words total

My main character was in full force today. Yesterday’s gutting of the wrong words gave me the space I needed to get the right ones, and my three hours flew.

I mention in a previous post having dreamt of my half-sister (who died some years ago) being with me… and today she stepped into the story, not as she was, but as she could have been and would have been had life and the circumstances of her birth been kinder.

She is in trouble, of course (because she’s in important character in a novel written by me). She won’t be named Julie — naming her that wouldn’t fit the story, the world I’ve created, or who she was in real life — and I will not erase who she was in real life, because as long as I knew her, she did her best at everything she tried.

In my memory, she lives as she was — I will not erase the truth of her.

In the novel, she’ll live as she might have been in a world that was kinder to her and considerably more magical than this one.

Now, on to other things.

 


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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.


2 comments… add one
  • Mike Lucas Apr 14, 2021 @ 17:33

    It’s interesting that you say “Yesterday’s gutting of the wrong words gave me the space I needed to get the right ones” — is this something you would recommend in general? Or is it more an advanced technique that beginning writers should stay away from? In your classes your advice tends to be more along the lines of “Let your mistakes remain on the page.”

    For me letting the mistakes remain has worked well — I can write something like [Probably need to cut this section all the way to X and replace it with Y] and it feels pretty much the same as actually pressing the delete key. I’m wondering if you’ve found circumstances where it doesn’t work the same?

    • Holly Apr 15, 2021 @ 9:16

      Hi, Mike. Writing is an individual process, and worse, it differs not just between writers, but between the same writer on different days, in different stories, for different situations. Things that work one time won’t another, tried and true processes start producing stale work so that the process itself much be changed…

      When you’re getting started and pretty much everything you do is broken in one way or another, you don’t benefit from re-writing the same section of anything. In the early phase of a writing career, the objective is to get to an ending — ANY ending — because you cannot fix what you have not written, and until you’ve written the whole book, you cannot even begin to guess what is going to be worth keeping.

      In the middle/late phases of your career, you start knowing that you have, for example, created a villain that you do not want to write, because he pulls focus from your story, is on the wrong world, is too big for the small role he was supposed to play, and will, if you keep writing that bastard, derail your book (because you have made this mistake before, and came name the book in which you made it (COUGH closer to chaos COUGH).

      At this point in my writing life, there are some mistakes that punch me in the nose the next morning. THOSE I remove with extreme prejudice, because they are mistakes that eat time, characters, your love of the world you’re writing, and your desire to go into work each morning. This massive tear-out was one of those mistakes.

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