Go where it hurts

April 8, 2013 About Writing, Writing Comments (0) 511

I’ve read quiet a few writing advice books. Most of them agree on one point: As a writer, you have to go to where it hurts. You have to look into those places that make you cringe and wanna look away, you have to take them, write them.  Naturally, I hesitate to really plunge into it. After all, it hurts. It isn’t easy to open your eyes, and look at all those ugly places inside you. All the things you wanna hide. The things you know you want to do, you have to do to your hero, but shy away from.

I know what’s the right thing to do, and ultimately, I’m going to do it. Then there is this moment, when I do all these hurtful things to my protagonist (and it really feels that way – not life, not the villain, not the antagonist, I am the person who is responsible), and it’s like liberation. My writing connects with some higher level of consciousness, it’s creating some sort of flow, where I’m only the pen, the medium through which words are formed on the screen. This is really hard to describe, but this is the moment I write for. Makes me sound like a masochist.

So, now I know where my story’s going to end, I know how to get there (roughly), but I also realize there’s a big chunk of already written story, that is an enormous glitch in the way. I have to get rid of it, or at least change it so it fits again into my story, but that – no surprise there, I fear – is going to hurt, as amputation does at any rate. It’s not only in terms of story or theme or whatever, that you have to go where it hurts. Sometimes it’s in the realization that your story just doesn’t work the way it is and you have to change at least a fourth part of what you’ve already written. That’s hurting almost more, because there’s no fun part to it. That’s just work.  (Well, my inner sadist, who likes to play around with my own inner masochist, points out gleefully that this is the price I have to pay for pantsing…)

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