Don’t you just love this advice? Having problems with your writing? Do whatever it takes to fall back in love with your story. Put your heart and soul into it. There’s nothing like it.
That’s why it’s so hard to cut into the story you love so much. It truly is like killing your darlings as William Faulkner advised. Editing requires a different mindset. Rather than your heart, your head and your intellect must be in charge.
Issues are rarely black and white. It’s been said that there are always at least two or three versions of any incident: your version, my version, and the truth. Yes, maybe that’s not always the case but it illustrates the fact that we don’t always look at issues from all sides.
One of my alltime favourite books about an important issue is Richard North Patterson’s “Balance of Power” which explores the US gun control issue from just about every side of the issue: the shooters, the family of the victim, the sellers, the buyers, the politicians…
Understanding our fellow humans and their viewpoints is important, whether we agree with them or not. There, in the gray area, is where we often find our best story.
The best advice. Writing your ‘dirty’ first draft is merely the first stage of getting a book out. It’s all about getting to know your story and what it’s all about.
Once the story is down on the page, it’s time to let it sit for a while, get some objectivity and distance before diving back in.
Then, and only then, is it time to ‘get it right’, make sure the story is all there, that there’s nothing missing, layering in anything missing, and editing out extraneous details and unnecessary words.
None of this can be done before you get the story out of your head and written.