View Full Version : Learning to trust your writer's gut

Azure Skye
01-21-2007, 11:15 PM
Heh, that sounds funny.

"Honey, you don't look so good. Is anything wrong?"
"It's just writer's gut mom. I'll be fine in a minute."

Anyway, last night I had a little breakthrough which turned out to be a major breakthrough. After finishing my third draft, I tried to plot out the second book in the series and had a difficult time. The reason for my recent procrastination came from being stuck with the ending of book one. It won't require a major overhaul, which is good, but it turns out I had the rest of the book already set up for this new change I will need to make. Huh, how did that happen? So, I'm fighting this change thinking it's not really what I *want* to do only to realize it's what I *need* to do.

Now I'm sitting here thinking why is it I seem to be missing the most obvious choices. I did this with acting as well. I would get so involved in my character that I failed to recognize the option of other actor choices, stronger choices that could have made my portrayal of the character better. I can't seem to distance myself enough to recognize the obvious. Does this come with more experience? Am I just being stubborn and ignoring that gut instinct because I think I know better? Hey, wait, was that my muse poking at me? Maybe we should get together for coffee and become better aquainted. Sheesh.

Is it hard to achieve that objective distance one needs to recognize the small problems? Cuz, it ain't happenin' with me yet.

01-21-2007, 11:18 PM
I had a short story, got a bunch of critiques, rewrote the whole thing to do everything the critiques said, hated it.

Sometimes you need to try something to see that it isn't right for you. Nothing wrong with that.

01-22-2007, 12:25 AM
Is it hard to achieve that objective distance one needs to recognize the small problems? Cuz, it ain't happenin' with me yet.

If you figure out how to learn it, let me know. I'm good at seeing the Big Picture problems in a story, but a lot of the little ones escape me. Drives me crazy, but that's what betas are for, no? :)

01-22-2007, 10:49 AM
If something bothers me enough for me to notice, it bothers me enough to stop writing. Usually, the solution is just a Groucho Marx joke.

"It hurts when I do this."
"Then don't do that."

Cat Scratch
01-22-2007, 10:35 PM
I know what you mean. After slaving away on my first two chapters (the rest of the ms is complete, and I'm just polishing) I realized I needed to do a massive overhaul that will change parts of the plot, meaning I'm not actually polishing after all.

I was reluctant to accept it because I felt so close to finishing, but when I brought it to my writer's group they agreed that my gut was right. Back to the drawing board, but at least my book will be improved!

01-23-2007, 01:29 AM
I think a writer's gut, if such a thing exists, would have to be developed over time. Trained, if you will.

Looking back and some of the first "serious" things I wrote, I realize that I have come a long way, and it doesn't take me as long to figure out that something doesn't work.

But as for why, that is a bit tougher. I can do rewrites upon rewrites before I figure it out.

But it does get easier. At least, for me it has. Objective distance might be impossible, but I believe you can develop an eye for your own work. And each mistake you make helps develop that writer's gut. You know what works and what doesn't.

01-23-2007, 01:43 AM
I don't know. I had a few instances of that while writing my current WIP. I needed some real life information to corroborate what I was fictionalizing (I'm a stickler for sticking to the facts, even in fiction). But I couldn't find what I wanted and in fact, I didn't even KNOW what I wanted. So I wrote the story anyway, hoping that what I did find when I found it would fit in the story.

As it turns out, when I finally did find what I was looking for it was an EXACT fit to what i'd already written. Kinda spooky.

01-23-2007, 03:11 AM
Many false starts, followed by a success or two give me some amount of faith in the existence of the thing.

-Dean (who's glad this isn't a thread about the physiological results of a sedentary profession)