How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur Author... and How to Avoid Them

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gum Stuck in Your Story?

You know how sometimes you're too close to your story and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere? It's kind of like getting gum stuck on your pants. My daughter put her gum on my back pocket. I didn't even know it. I sat in a chair and it smeared everywhere. Thankfully, it was a wooden chair and not cloth. But the pants are made out of cloth! So I put my pants in the freezer to help it come out. But since it was so smeared down into the fibers, I had to work at it a lot more. Every few days, I got the pants out and scraped the gum a bit with a butter knife. I think the pants stayed in the freezer for a month! I finally got frustrated about that not working and had to use another tactic. I used dish soap and a Tbsp. of salt and scrubbed them against each other. Threw them in the washer, and presto! Clean pants, again. They were new ones, too.

So if you're stuck, let your story cool off. With your writing, give it a month-long freeze-fest and then pick it up with refreshed eyes and a cooler temper. I guarantee you'll be able to see something that doesn't belong and edit accordingly. It truly is amazing the things we notice in our writing after a month of not looking at it, especially after several re-writes. If that doesn't work, try a different tactic. Start fresh and RE-WRITE it again, differently. New character. New order of events. Change up the names. Change up the setting. SOMETHING! If we keep at it long enough, our stories will eventually come out clean. With a "fresh" voice, too!

16 comments:

  1. Neat trick for getting gum out. I'll have to remember it.

    It's amazing the changes you're willing to make after you distance yourself from your ms. :)

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  2. This is something I am learning right now. It is also important not to expect your crit group to do your editing for you.
    I try and do more than one draft between showing anyone the ms. I have also re-written an ms that seemed stuck for ages by writing it in the first person. I'll leave it to marinate and then see which one I prefer and look more objectively at the old version.

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  3. This is a great analogy for editing/writing. Good post crusader..:)

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  4. Aaagh. Just lost my comment.

    I totally agree with the frustration with having gum stuck in your jeans and edit hell. I'm blogging at the moment because I need a break from my mss.

    Thanks for the wise words.

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  5. yes, great post - so important to put some space betweet you and your work

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  6. Another way I'm able to put space between me and my writing is to have multiple mss going on at the same time. That way, I'm always working on something. But I don't recommend it for everyone. It can make ya kinda crazy sometimes.

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  7. OMG I was just talking about this today! It's so true. At this point I can't imagine EVER going back to a story after a month or so and finding it "just right".

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  8. Hi Christie! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such kind words. What an interesting blog you have...I really enjoyed my visit and will be back often! You put a whole new prospective on things and I had to smile when I read this posting! Not only can gum get stuck in your story but crafting as well. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Big Hugz
    Kelly :)

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  9. Heather, unless it's published, right? At that point we'll just have to trust that it truly is as good as it's going to get.

    Kelly, welcome! Hope you buy picture books as gifts for the beloved little ones in your life.

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  11. I agree wholeheartedly with writing a few manuscripts at one time. Otherwise, you wouldn't want to wait that long to edit. I'd feel too much like a kid waiting for Christmas morning if I didn't have something else to work on while I waited. I have zero patience!

    Great post!

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  12. Hi, Christie! Thanks for finding my blog - yours looks awesome! I love making new blog friends, especially a fellow PB writer. :-)

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  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just loved (well, hated, because I hate getting gum in my clothes) the example you used to get the point across. I get the point and it makes sense.

    CD

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  14. Totally! Chill out. Freeze out. Calm down. Its allll goooood.

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  15. A special award for you.

    http://booknoise411.blogspot.com/2010/10/oh-happy-day-versatile-blogger-award.html

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I love comments just as much as the next gal, so go ahead and tell us what's on your mind. Thanks for being here!

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