Don’t say it.

I had a moment of understanding about the short story I’ve been writing….These kind of moments are, for me, mixed blessings, because there comes both excitement at a wonderful breakthrough and also a certain something that I don’t want to face up to.

The short story I’ve been writing, though I see the end result clearly in my head (unusual for me), is stuck. There’s no dialogue, which is more than a minor problem. I hear the characters talking, but when I sit down to write, what comes out is more description, more narrative…no speech. There are stories in which a lack of dialogue works, but this story is not going to be one of them.

I’ve been pondering how to go forward and I realized quite suddenly that I was telling the story from the wrong point of view. (Don’t ask me how changing POV will lead to a burst of dialogue writing, but I feel certain that it will.) When I saw what was tripping me up, i felt a soaring excitement…for about two seconds, after which my enthusiasm was tempered by the realization that changing the point of view will mean rewriting everything I have written so far.

These are the kind of moments that make me want to turn away from projects, maybe start something new. My hard drive is a graveyard of unfinished pieces that have hit snags such as this and needed to be reworked from the beginning. I hate reworking. I used to not admit to myself that I needed to start over on a piece of writing and instead would either flounder in a piece that obviously wasn’t working (so stubborn!) or just put it away and never look at it again. Now I’ll admit it, but I still have trouble staying motivated while the rewriting happens. Some false starts I cling to more than others.

Honestly, I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to return to this story to begin its new form. For now, I’m jotting notes about the changes I want to make, so when I decide I am able to let go of the old version, that little bit of excitement I had in my moment of insight won’t be lost.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t say it.

  1. Yah it is hard to get to this point. I was a third through my novel when I realized it was written in the wrong POV. I started over. It was kind of refreshing in a way, but also kind of daunting!

  2. Oh, those revelations are so great but daunting. The good news is that you have a strong sense about how to move forward with it that you didn’t have before, and concrete changes that’ll develop it significantly. The creative process is hard at work.

    I don’t think re-writing is a setback. Its a revision, and thats how they get better. My fiction prof made us write short stories, then print them and put them face down on the table next to us and re-write the whole thing. That experience created the habit of rewrites from scratch and taught me that so much more cool, creative stuff comes up from starting over than it ever would have from just having tweaked that was there. Taking a break for now, though, sounds like a good idea. The whole process can be taxing. One bite at a time…

  3. Oh, wow, it made my heart pound in panic just thinking about doing that exercise of your fiction prof’s! That is tough! I can see how doing that would be a freeing and helpful exercise, but… wow. Obviously, I need to let go of my writing more.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

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