A BUTT KICKING: Knowing Where You Stand

18 Jul

Hello fellow writers, I’m here to give you a healthy butt kicking! Today’s topic:

Knowing where you stand.

You know, the problem with a lot of writers is that they are totally lost. They even admit it. You see it all the time, ” I don’t know what to write” “I don’t know how to fix XYZ”.

They’re lost, not inexplicably so either.

Being lost comes with inexperience. Granted I don’t claim to be an advanced writer of any kind, so this is just my two cents, but from the writers i’ve spoken with (there’s pretty many) i’ve found that the majority can’t (for one) complete a novel, and (for two) can’t deal with the crap they end up with afterwards (if they do complete the novel). First drafts are always crap, as you know.

The reason being that they don’t understand the position they’re in. They have so much excitement and “go getterness” swimming around in their brains that there’s not much room for order and thinking things out. Granted, that’s half the fun of writing a novel, but it also hinders those who can’t control it.

So i’m here to tell you that you need to know where you stand at all times. What do I mean?

I mean you need to know, realistically where your weak and strong points are,  and you need to  know your novel.

So  lets take our first point: Knowing your skill level.

Personally, I think that honest self assessment is one of the greatest skills writers can have. Knowing that you suck at description or character building for instance, allows you to look for those things in your writing and search and decease. Being able to look at yourself critically will allow you to grow. Becoming defensive and refusing to see weak points in your work helps no one. (except your ego) Ergo your novel will continue to spiral  into the slush pile. Something, I don’t think anyone wants.

What i’m saying is that honesty, even if it makes you rewrite the first 260 pages, is the best policy.

And if you can’t be honest with yourself (because at times we can all turn a blind eye to certain aspects) you need to find someone who will be. AKA a crit partner.

Second, You need to know your novel.

When I say this I don’t mean knowing your plot or characters (which is important yes, but not the point). I mean knowing your direction, your point, your REASON FOR WRITING THIS BOOK.

If you don’t understand why your story needs to be told, it will be extremely hard for you to stay motivated to write, and continue on when things get tough (which they inevitably will).

Behind every story there is purpose, and a drive. Find what ever it is that made you want to write it in the first place, and carry it through to the last page. This will give the piece a pull and help to keep you on track. It eliminates the need for excess (because if a scene doesn’t drive home your purpose then it isn’t needed).

I’m not talking moral or anything here, just for clarity’s sake i’d thought i’d say that. Though that could be your purpose.

For instance the original thought for BTE was:

What happens after an unrightous dystopia falls. We’ve all seen that played out a million times after all. And that got me thinking about how the “heroes” of that story could potentially morph into villains. So the purpose evolved into its current state of:

The Line between right and wrong in not always clear.

So, I suppose you could call that “theme” too. Knowing where your novel stands based upon that one point allows you to focus.

That focus makes knowing where you stand and where your novel stands much easier, and knowing that  is possibly one of the most important things you can find out as a writer. Agree? Disagree? What are you all thinking?

CURRENT MUSIC: If You Could Only See (Acoustic version) by Tonic


8 Responses to “A BUTT KICKING: Knowing Where You Stand”

  1. gabriellan July 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    I agree completely. My two favorite stories of all that I’ve written are the ones where I knew exactly what the theme was. I knew why I was writing what I was. So when I was lying pathetically, suffering from THE BLOCK or wondering why I should even bother writing, I had a reason. Granted, even that wasn’t enough to get me up sometimes… ^_^

    • nkeda14 July 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      Yeah the favorites are always the ones that you just KNEW. I suppose because it seems easier (and flows better) from the start.

  2. peacesigngirl21 July 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    This post was truly butt-kicking. 😀 I agreed completely. More butt-kicking posts sometime soon?

    • nkeda14 July 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      LOL glad you liked it, and yes I usually give a good butt kicking post when something is irritating me (writerly or other wise). This one came about because i’m having plotting troubles. Still not resolved troubles I might add… so yeah…. more to come 😉 haha

  3. harmamae July 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Very true, it’s easier to hide from your faults than to face them, but it wouldn’t help you improve…

    • nkeda14 July 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

      Never does. I Learned that the hard way… but, hey, at least I learned. That is what life is all about right?

  4. Jennifer Mandelas July 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    The worst is when you know what you’re doing, but you have reached what you feel is a boring part of the story, and lose all enthusiasm to get to the part you DO want to write.

    • nkeda14 July 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Ugh… I know. I hate that, you get to feeling so blocked you don’t want to go on 😦 Not the funniest part of writing.

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