Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Bitter Truth # 4

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Aug• 21•12

Bitter truth # 4. Starting is the easy part. I’ve known many writers, myself included, who began books we never finished. The reasons for not continuing are, of course, myriad. Some of these concepts or plots just didn’t hold up. Some were too skimpy or too complicated. Too silly or too much of a downer. Or the protagonist was thin as a playing card.

You see, beginnings are always full of promise and this promise is fueled by the energy generated from the initial idea. A sort of writing adrenaline. But the dream or enchanting glimpse of a character or the headline that first pulls you toward the computer doesn’t always keep you there. You often find that you don’t possess the craft or skills to keep going. Or that the story no longer intrigues you like it did in those first heady days of writing.

Which is why the sweetest words in any writer’s arsenal are “the end.” I finished a book about twenty years ago that was never published. But the understanding of craft, the belief in myself, and the stamina that it took to write it have continued to inspire me years later. The plot was a bit contrived, the character arc too low in the beginning, the situation too close to home. But writing it turned me into a person who keeps the promises she makes to herself.

While I’m always been glad that I finished it, there have some books that abandoning them has been the smarter option. If the story is floundering and you cannot find your way to the end, sometimes it’s best to set it aside for awhile or hand it off to a capable reader. Sometimes it makes the most sense to start over. Sometimes it makes sense to come back at it later.

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