Every now and again I get to a chapter or a scene that is just not working. No matter what I do to it, no matter what I try, it just…fails. It’s frustrating, sure, but I’ve come to the realization that the true source of frustration lies not in the inability to fix what I have, but in the time wasted going trying to make it work in the first place. Thankfully I don’t let that eat at me too much.
I’m no perfectionist, but I am a writer who trusts their instincts. If this is a scene that just ain’t cutting it, I’ll give it the old college try for a day or so just to see if it’s salvageable. Sometimes it works — I’ll come up with a solution that wasn’t coming to me the day before, or I’ll allow myself some time to work through it in my head first. But more often than not, if it isn’t going to work after a few days, it’s not going to work, period. Cut the offending piece and pasted it in my Outtakes document. [And yes, all of my novels have at least one of those.]
I say this after about three days of trying to write the latest chapter of MU4 and not quite getting anywhere with it. There’s a mood I think works, but there’s no plot, just a few connecting scenes, and that makes for pretty boring prose. My mistake was that I went into the scene unsure where I wanted to go and hoping it would tell me. Sometimes that works, but often times it doesn’t. So what I need to do is cut the whole thing and start from scratch.
It’s frustrating, yes, but sometimes it’s got to be done to move forward.