...because fiction is our greatest escape from reality...

Cold, Hard Truth


Giving up on a difficult piece and moving on is easy.  Sure, you may feel a slight, skulking guilt in low places, but you can ignore it, right?

Not really.

Trust me–I speak from experience.  Yes, there are times when a piece just isn’t going to work.  But most of the time, it just ‘needs’ work.  It’s damned hard to pull yourself out of this habit once it’s permanently glued into your psyche.

Nothing like the cold, hard truth, but if you take a deep breath, stick around and tear the piece down to rework it, you might be surprised by the results.   Sometimes, all it takes is a shuffling of ideas. 

A trick I’ve found to work for me is a thesaurus.  Seriously.  Pull that thing out and change out some of the boring words.  Browse the page you’re on further and maybe another word will spark an intriguing idea.  Sometimes, it’s just the simple things.

Before you dump the piece for greener pastures, hunker down and give it another shot. You are capable of more than you think.  Just believe in yourself.

What a concept, eh?


  1. January 19, 2007    

    The Thesaurus is my friend. Some people laugh at the use of them but as long as you don’t go to extremes with word choice they can be a useful tool. I was contemplating giving up on one of my stories but kept nagging myself to find a way to make it work. When I did, I realized I had enough to go from a short story to a novel. If I had given up, the satisfaction of that revelation would have never been known.

  2. January 19, 2007    

    I would never laugh at a reference book that teaches me new things–especially words. And yes, I’d still use a word that fits with the “voice” of a piece. I’ve laughed out loud reading words that just didn’t fit.

    I’ve given up on some short stories, but usually I’ll find a place to go back and change things around. I won’t even admit how many books I’ve given up on. When I’d hit that middle and all the little threads needed twisting and depth, I’d spook. It formed a habit. I’ve officially pulled out of that one finally.

    Good on you for lengthening the short story! Did you ever read the book Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts? She’s a local author here and that book was a short story. Went from short, to long, to Oprah pick and movie.

  3. January 19, 2007    

    Sounds good to me.

  4. January 19, 2007    

    It can be tough to put that concept into practice sometimes. Thanks for the reminder, Rinda 🙂

  5. January 19, 2007    

    You’re welcome. It’s very tough. Especially when you tear the piece apart and you have all these parts that seem impossible to put together. In fact, I’m working on a suggestion for this based on what Rachel has been blogging about. Colored post its. 🙂

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