Tackling the Hardest Things to Write

After a bit of a lull, the process towards seeing my first novel in print is continuing along. I’ve been bouncing back and forth on related projects. Crafting the blurb and further editing for the manuscript, as well as writing the opening chapter for the sequel. Learning more about being a writer has been a big part, and I’ve joined a variety of groups. My local writer’s group has forced me to rethink and then completely re-write the opening scene of my sequel, making it better, more relevant.

Today I read an article from Business Insider entitled “22 Lessons from Stephen King on How to be a Great Writer” and point number 5 really struck me. The article says:

  1. Tackle the things that are hardest to write.

“The most important things are the hardest things to say,” writes King. “They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings.” Most great pieces of writing are preceded with hours of thought. In King’s mind, “Writing is refined thinking.”

When tackling difficult issues, make sure you dig deeply. King says, “Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground … Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.” Writers should be like archaeologists, excavating for as much of the story as they can find.

Ok, something about me. I keep a tight rein on my emotions. Perhaps it’s my nature, perhaps it’s a relic of my former career. I suspect it can be a liability for a writer, because good writing should really provoke an emotional response. My challenge is to allow this in myself, and I have. Mostly.

There was a part in my first book that I didn’t want to face. So I found a way to write around it. It worked well, but it was a cheat. Mr. King was right – finding the words to describe the scene would diminish the feeling. But only because I wasn’t willing to go there.

The sequel is going to be darker, by necessity. And right in the first chapter, I knew I had to introduce a situation that would be very difficult for me to face. Because in order for me to portray a believable response, I would have to put myself in that place and feel what the character feels. So I cheated. Again. It’s a different situation from the first book, and a different method, but it was a cheat. Since I finished that section of the chapter, I’ve been thinking about it.

I’m glad I read this article, because in my heart, I know I made the wrong choice in this case. I’m going to have to face this particular demon, go back, and rewrite that part. I will not enjoy this process, but I know it will make the story stronger. I’m going to have to find the words that convey the feelings I don’t want to feel.


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Here’s the article I reference:



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