Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sometimes It's a Matter of Perspective

Digging in and directing enormous effort on writing a manuscript, driving to get it finished can cause one to lose focus on the big picture. There is nothing wrong with dedication and making persistent progress toward completion, but sometimes a writer has to step back and get out of the weeds.

Getting too close, without an occasional step back can cause a writer to lose touch with the story’s direction. Dialogue becomes stilted, descriptions become wordy and ineffective, losing color, opportunities for effective characterization are overlooked, and the plot direction bulldozes ahead according to the established outline, often leading to a dead end. Some might call that dead end ‘The Wall’ or the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block.’ In any case the result is that the story stumbles off kilter until it utterly stalls.

What to do? Take a couple weeks off from the project. Work on something different and then come back, reread and revise, take a few notes, then move forward. If possible, have a crit partner or willing trusted reader give the manuscript in progress a look and provide insight and suggestions.

Then chances are you’ll be once again up and out of the weeds.

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