Writers angst. It’s in the blood. Here are five tough decisions that definitely increase anxiety when writers have to make them:
1. Choose one idea and let others wait
Writers may have more than one good idea but choosing a ‘winner’ is not as easy as it should be. One idea may not stand out because there are elements of several ideas that appeal to a writer on different levels. Some ideas are more emotionally tied to the writer while others are more commercially appealing. It may come down to eeny meeny miny moe. But it still has to be one idea to start writing and it’s a hard decision no matter what if there are more than one really good ones tugging at a writer’s creative emotions.
2. Choose important characters and cut others
Oh boy here’s a toughie: writers love the people they create. These creations are real, they become virtual friends, visceral enemies fantastical creatures that live and breathe in worlds built in minuscule detail by writers for the all-encompassing story. The story is alive because of these characters and the moment comes when a writer faces a heart wrenching fact: there are too many of them. Cutting characters is killing characters and that’s just the way it is.
3. Choose the best scenes and cut cut cut the rest
Ouch. This hurts. Cutting those great action scenes, love scenes, or deeply emotional scenes, the ones writers work on for hours days months can be physically upsetting. But sometimes there are too many of the same kind of action scenes, love scenes or emotional scenes and they have to go. Writers determine which ones move the plot forward and which ones don’t. Some are just good scenes and even though it feels like a limb being torn off, those scenes go in a file for another day.
(Good scenes never die; they hang out and wait to be used in another story. Delete nothing.)
4. Choose when to stop – where’s the end?
There comes a time when the soup is soup and the first draft is done. Writers who fear the finish of a first draft are hiding from moving on with the process. What process? Think about it. You need a first draft in order to start revising. Writing the first draft is like a toddler crawling. Finishing the first draft, the toddler starts to walk.
On your feet.
5. Choose when to stop revising.
And here we are. The final tough decision: one, two, five, twenty-five revisions, how many are enough? A first draft is a first step, and writers have to keep walking but not forever. There’s a goal in sight and that goal is a FINAL DRAFT. With that final draft comes freedom to look for an agent, to submit on your own, to self-publish, to own your story and give it to the world.
Then the decision to love it is up to readers. And that won’t be tough because it’s an awesome story. Right?
Christina Ranallo for PenPaperWrite
Want to write a novel?
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