POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY

Should you make changes just because someone else tells you that it would be better if you did? Should you make the hero dark instead of fair, or leave out the wedding scene to make the plot move along more briskly? You’re the only one who can make these decisions. But try to look at your work with the objectivity of a surgeon rather than the loving devotion of a parent. Would it benefit from these changes?

 

Would the characters become more believable or the plot more exhilarating? If so, do it. Throw in a little something extra. Make it better Aspiring novelist Sara Crowley, spending a lot of her time at home with small children, describes how her online writing group helps her: What is missing when you are trying to do it yourself is anyone to bounce ideas off and compare notes with.

 

Your work isn’t being discussed in a group setting, and no teacher is on hand with advice and instructions. Sometimes a storyline is so clear in your head that you can’t imagine anyone not seeing exactly what you mean, and yet I have now learned that this is an incredibly common problem. It is hard to get the necessary distance to see one’s own work with clarity.

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