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When Questioning Your Writing Can Be A Good Thing

1 September, 2008

If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you’ll probably have read some mention of the latest novel I’m working on. Without giving too much away, it features magic and mythical creatures and I’m coming up to the halfway point. Halfway is a pretty important milestone. In theory, I should know my characters, world and plot pretty well by now. In theory.

I’ve realised over the last couple of days that the reason I’m struggling to motivate myself to write is because I’m uncertain about where the story is going next. Part of this is down to a lack of planning in the early stages of the writing process, but I’ll admit that I’ve rather enjoyed letting the story take me where it will, instead of studiously plotting the whole thing out before I began. Additionally, I’ve read a couple of interesting articles recently, both of which have covered topics I’m writing about and both of which have made me question how I want my created world to function.

So, I’m left with a great deal of uncertainty and I’m not writing much as a consequence. It sounds terrible, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this indecision may save the book. Finally, I’ve been made to sit back and really think about the dynamics of my story and world. It’s something I’ve been putting off, but it’s also something I really need to do in order to improve the novel. Whilst I could leave this until the editing stage, I’m finding that stopping to look at what I’ve done so far and to really think about how events in the story are going to pan out – and about how the mechanics of my fantasy world affect this – is actually giving me much more confidence in my ability to finish the book.

Sometimes, it seems, questioning where you’re going with a novel or story can actually make you stop, take a look around and work out how to make the remainder of that story as good as it can possibly be.

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2 Comments
  1. 1 September, 2008 3:32 pm

    For me, the questioning comes AFTER I’ve finished the first draft and have commenced work on revisions. The two greatest secrets for good editing/revising are 1) read your work out loud and 2) periodically take a few days, even a week off, then come back with a fresh perspective.

    In both instances, the results can be nothing short of astonishing.

    Good luck and write on…

  2. Amy permalink*
    3 September, 2008 9:18 pm

    Cliff – Normally I’d agree that revising and questioning should come after the first draft, but in this case I was stuck in such a rut that I really needed to step back and re-evaluate some of my characters before I could progress. Thankfully, it worked and I’m now piling up the words again.

    Thanks for the advice and the encouragement though!

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