Ok, how many of you have had to hit the delete button? If you’ve ever worked on a computer you’ve eventually hit the delete button. Some of you are probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well, for a writer, delete can be a dreaded, horribly painful button. Your finger hovers over it fighting with you not to do. Your finger screams “NOOOOO”, but eventually you force it to do what you’ve told it to do.
Now, let’s get past my dramatic description to the meaning of this post. I was working the other day on one of my books when I hit a brick wall. The unfortunate thing about this brick wall is it was very high and wide, no way around it. Suddenly the story just ended suddenly. What do you do when you hit that dreaded brick wall in a story? Is it too early to end the story, or do you just end it there?
Well, in some instances the story just ends there, but what happens when you know the story needs to go further in this book? If it’s a part of a series, well you just start the new book on the other side of the wall, but if it’s a stand alone, well, you’ve got to get past that wall. But how?
I sat staring at my screen, unable to think about the inevitable. After much thought and wondering what happened, I finally took a look at my outline. I was confused because it was going along so well and then I ran smack into a wall. Why? Then as I read down the many lines of my outline I realized what I’d done. Duh!!! Ok, so I’m blonde, I’m given at least one, maybe two blonde moments in a day. What I’d done was skip a couple of pivotal story line turns. For some reason I’d totally jumped over some very important happenings in the book. I’d actually skipped several chapters.
You may be saying, how on earth did you do that? Well, if you’re a writer you may be saying, yep, been there done that. That night I didn’t start writing until late in the evening after a long day of tax return preparation. I was exhausted and just wanted to get lost in my manuscript. That’s the problem, I got lost in my own manuscript. Sometimes when you’re really tired, you just need to step back and do something else. Maybe design a cover or work on some character descriptions, but beware if you step into a manuscript.
I had to delete three chapters, yes you read it right, three whole chapters. I’d totally skipped several chapters of important parts that would lead correctly up to the end of the book. My brain had literally skipped some of the main plot rendering parts of the manuscripts. As I read through what I’d typed it began to become obvious. All I could do was delete.
You may be asking why I didn’t copy the work and then paste into the end after I entered the needed work. Well, the ending I’d typed did not actually go along with the missing work. That’s another reason I map out the work that comes into my brain. If life steps in and walks all over my memory, well then I have some reminders written into the outline. It totally saved the manuscript. Needless to say, it will take a little longer to finish, but at least it will be complete as it should be, not just a quick ending to the story.
So, a little piece of advice. If you need some help with your manuscripts flow, sit back and take a deep breath. Then try out an outline, it really saved me this time and definitely saved the story.
As always, good writing and May God Bless You…
4 thoughts on “The delete button is painful…”
With me it depends if I like what I have written, I never decide straight away though I always sleep on it and come back to it the next morning, if then I don’t like it I have no trouble hitting delete, but if I like it or I think it may be something that can be recycled at a later date I will cut and paste it into a different folder for a rainy day. 😀
Sometimes I do sleep on my decisions 🙂 I copy and pasted one time and forgot about it… Funny the mind of a writer. Have a great day…
Deleting is the worst feeling! I recently finished re-writing a novel, and … man oh man. I ended up having to delete about half of the manuscript in order to get the new ending right. It was brutal. I’m glad now that I did it, obviously, but … at the time, not so much!
It does hurt. You’ve poured your heart out into the words and then delete, delete, delete. Painful! Enjoy your day.