T is for Tackling the Hard Stuff

I am a novelist.  I need no royalty checks to prove that to myself (not that I wouldn’t cash a fat check were one to come my way).  Since I’m taking myself and my dream of launching a career in the publishing industry seriously, it is incumbent upon me to improve every facet of my writing.  Like most writers, I have certain skills I feel comfortable with, like dialogue and action scenes.  And, like all writers willing to face the truth, I have my weaknesses when it comes to prose.  For me, the biggest of these is set up.  You see, I know what’s supposed to happen in the story.  I know why the protagonist decides to forgo a relationship with the obviously right guy in order to hang out with the local mafioso street tough.  And because I know, I find it hard to show these things to the reader.  Wasn’t it clear that she’s concerned for her little brother’s safety in the neighborhood, and the gang can protect him?  No?   Crud.

Reading through my current WIP, I find that I know something is broken, but I have a hard time pinpointing it.  So for the last two days I’ve been pouring over my chapter outlines, trying to find the disconnect.  I’m not certain I’ve found them all, but I believe I’ve identified a major hole in my main character’s early training, something that leaves the later denouement flat.  Repairing this problem is going to be a pain.  Already I have one chapter on the chopping block.  It will need replacing with something more fitting.  Yet, the new chapter will still need to forward the plot in all the ways the old chapter did without losing any of its new set up.

I love writing…don’t I?

— david j.

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