Monday, December 13, 2010

Going With Your Gut


When writing, I'll often hear a tiny voice whispering to me.  It may tell me that there's something not quite right with a scene or character, or perhaps it would be best if I changed a certain aspect of what's happening.  It's just a little niggling feeling, that is actually quite easy to ignore, but the problem is it never goes away.  And the even bigger problem?  That voice is usually right.

After having the wonderful opportunity of editing my manuscript with my agent, I realized that those little whispers were there for a reason, since too often, the changes made to the manuscript coincided with one another.   All I had done was delay the inevitable changes-- changes that would have been easier to take care of early on, and most importantly strengthened my manuscript.

So now I know.  I listen to my gut.  And if my gut's telling me a scene should be cut or changed-- whatever it happens to be whispering in my ear-- I take care of the matter, then and there.  Might as well, right?  The issues sure aren't going to go away just because I ignore them.

So, how about you?  Or am I the only one hearing voices?

15 comments:

Maxwell Cynn said...

All the time. The small voice, the screaming voice, the "just hit the delete button" voice. Hemingway said he threw out the first chapter because it was just warm-up. We can't be afraid to edit ourselves brutally, because, as you say, agents and editors will.

Great advice Calista

Calista Taylor said...

Thanks, Max! I'd always listened to the screaming voices, but it seemed I ignored the whispers. Now I know better. Brutal it is. ; )

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm learning to listen to that voice. I didn't with my steampunk and ended up paying the price. There's a fairly big coincidence that now needs to be fixed - and that means changing quite a bit of the story. It'll be better once I'm done, but it's going so slooooowly.

Calista Taylor said...

Jemi, I totally understand. It's always more difficult to make changes after the fact, especially when that change has a ripple effect. I know you can do it though! : )

Pamela Cayne said...

Oh, absolutely!!! Ignoring those voices is like ignoring your Check Engine light--you can get away with it for a while, but eventually it's all going to blow up on you. Shoulda just checked it when it came on.

Calista Taylor said...

Great analogy, Pamela!

Hence72 said...

excellent stuff as always

dont forget to pop over for a visit soon

Calista Taylor said...

Thanks, Hence 72!

Popped over, and love what you're doing!

Jarmara Falconer said...

I too have voices and they are a great help if you just let them.

Good luck with all your writing in the New Year.

Have a great Christmas.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I understand completely. I've had that little voice talking to me many times. It's always best to just take care of it. Thanks for the reminder.

Calista Taylor said...

Thanks, Jarmara. Happy holidays to you too!

Kathi, I agree. Always best to just take care of the matter before complicating things further.

Cheryl said...

Hmm. I could have sworn I posted.

I said something to the effect that while I don't hear voices, I usually have a nagging sense of something off kilter. And sometimes it takes a critique partner saying something's off in a certain section or putting the story down for a while and going back to it to figure out what's wrong.

And there usually IS something wrong.

Calista Taylor said...

My fault, Cheryl. Things got crazy with the holidays.

My crit partners are invaluable to me. Glad you have someone to be your inner voice.

Lindsay said...

I usually fix something right away if an idea comes, but sometimes I have to just keep writing and come back to the problem scene later.

It is nice when crit buddies take you to task on things, because sometimes they force you to pay more attention to that voice than you might have otherwise. ;)

Calista Taylor said...

Totally agree, Lindsay! Honest crit partners are invaluable. : )