Friday, September 3, 2010

Admit Writing Mistakes

Yesterday, in my work-in-progress YA I finally finished a chapter that I've been working on for the past few weeks. There is so much I love about this chapter, the girl hero in the book finally meets the cute guy she's been wanting to meet, things don't go well in the meeting, they fight, she struggles with external and internal conflicts of how to deal with the guy, elements of mystery and suspense grow, etc. Anyway, it took a lot of work to get everything just right with it and I'm really pleased with the results except for one thing. A major premise of the chapter simply isn't believable. Oh, the tension, mystery and suspense I could have created if that premise worked, but it just doesn't. I have to take the chapter a different direction and rewrite it.

While I was writing the chapter, I kept telling myself I can make this work, I can make this work, even though in the back of my mind I knew readers wouldn't buy into what I was trying to get them to believe.

As writers, sometimes it's really hard to admit that something we really like in our writing isn't going to work. We might be able to fool ourselves, but you can't always fool your readers. The reality is that you have to be objective with your writing and admit when there are problems that need to be fixed. But too often we're easily blinded to these problems and we just don't see them. That's where a good critique group can be a big help.

What are some things you do to get past author blindness and identify problems in your writing?

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