Friday, May 02, 2008

The Blank Page

by G.Parker

Last week in my critique group, I got my first round of 'red marks' on my story. They were kind -- everyone said they liked the story and that it was great, BUT...

Yeah, that's when it comes down to bite the bullet and listen or chicken out and leave. So...I brought the suggestions home and haven't been able to look at them. The biggest suggestion was that my story needed more information at the beginning. They wanted to know what heaven looked like, what angels looked like, and why one angel was doing one thing when I'm talking about a completely different one for the rest of the story. Basically, it was a rewrite of the prologue.

At this point I'm wondering if it should become chapter one and forget a prologue. I'm not sure what the benefit would be of either at this point, I'm just scared to change it.

Have you ever looked at a chapter and realized it needed to be reworked but were too afraid to touch it? If you haven't ever lost a story or plot outline, you wouldn't know the fear. I've lost a couple, so now I'm really paranoid about rewriting because I'm not sure I'm going to like the change. What if I like the original better? This isn't something that has happened recently, this was back before the time of computers and everyone had a word processor with access to a printer. Fortunately there are many ways to save work and do rewrites with copies. Unfortunately the fear of loosing chosen words lingers.

People think that since you're the one that wrote it in the first place, you should be able to remember what you wrote -- word for word. Well, perhaps some writers are able to do that, but I'm not one of them. Once it's down on paper, I can remember bits and pieces and the general idea, but specific conversations? It's gone -- never to be remembered.

The blank page becomes intimidating at that point. I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to the drastic change that it represents. But today I forced myself to get on with it and rewrite the idea, incorporating some of their suggestions. It became fun and interesting -- I don't think I'm worried about it anymore.

Don't let the fear of change ruin your story. Remember it's the richness of the mind that brings it (the story) to life. Everything changes in time -- until it's in print.

1 comment:

Marsha Ward said...

Many of us have cut files. We dump the unwanted words into a file where they sit until we find another story at another time that can use a snippet here and a snippet there of what we wrote before.