Thursday, June 28, 2012

You Don't Know What Works Until You Try It

When a friend of mine was still single, she started dating a guy whom she liked, but he wasn't her "type.” She didn’t understand why she enjoyed spending time with him so much when he wasn’t the kind of man she thought she’d end up with. Time went by and things got serious enough for them to consider marriage.

I remember discussing this marriage with her and her roommates. She shook her head and said, “I don’t understand. I love him, but he’s not my type.”

Finally, one of her friends said, “I’ve spent my whole life dating “my type,” and I’m still single. I’m starting to think I don’t know what my type is.”

We all realized that when you fall in love, the person you love is your type, whether you thought he would be or not. Falling in love is the only way to find out what works for you.

They've been married three years now.

Since I have a habit of connecting my life to writing, my mind automatically went to the time I had to delete the first two chapters from Sacred Fire. (That may seem random, but bear with me.)

People had been telling me for years to delete those chapters, but being young and less flexible than I am now, I stubbornly refused. I always gave people a list of reasons why it wouldn’t work. In the end, I decided to just try starting my book two chapters later as an experiment. I expected to feel justified afterwards because I was certain the result would be terrible.

It was a million times better. Those two chapters are gone for good!

Stories have a tendency to solidify in our minds. Throughout the many rewrites of Sacred Fire, I often found myself resisting changes because "they're not even worth considering," or "it's too late because I'm too far along," or, "I already know how I want my book to go."

In reality, the sky is the limit. I can change anything I want to at this stage. Anything. And so can you.

Revising takes a lot of courage. You don't always know how things are going to turn out, and sometimes you're positive it will be a disaster, but I encourage you to never shy away from an opportunity to improve your book. After all, you don't know what works until you try it.


  1. Excellent post. It's always scarier in your head than when you actually do it.

    Moody Writing

  2. I read this post at just the right time. I've just begun some massive restructuring on a novel. I know it's what it needs, but the changes are causing dramatic, though wonderful, shifts in town. Right at this point in time, I'm standing on the brink, looking over the edge and saying "Oh, *&%! This is going to be a LOT of work!" Thanks for the bit of encouragement.

  3. It's easy to get too attached to your work - especially the first chapters which are often the first thing you wrote. I once just swapped the first few chapters into a different order, and that worked too.

  4. The biggest difficulty that you encounter in writing novel is that you can't decide how to start.I remember starting my novel millions of times again and again but after a while ı understand they are all rubbish and erase them.this vicious cycle is still going on.ı think writing requires patience and time.

  5. Great post! Just what I needed to read right now. I've been struggling with recent changes in my life, because I stubbornly believed that my 'story' (my life) was meant to go a different way. It's not helpful thinking and I need to get over it! Thanks for helping me remember that. :)


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