How my false starts helped me start for real

As you know, I’m currently writing a novel. This has been an interesting process for me. What makes it interesting?

Well, to start, I’ve never finished a novel. I, however, started many; I have notebooks and word processor files filled with false starts. I’m sure many other writers do. The difference between my current project and those others is that I actually intend to finish it.

With my false starts, I wrote with the intention to make a point. I wrote with an agenda in mind. Those agendas quickly took over, stifling the stories, an burying the plots until they were unrecognizable.

When I saw my stories overshadowed, I decided to cut my losses and stop the projects.

But now, I can see a plot being stifled and try to fix it. I can see the story as more important than the message I’m trying to send.

Which brings me to the subject of restructuring my story. I’ve found myself deleting whole passages from my story and starting over from scratch. I can do this without changing the overall plot much at all. In fact, I find myself liking the changes much more than my original ideas.

Rewrites help me see where my story can go; they help me make my characters more genuine, and my chapters flow better. I can add foreshadowing where I see fit, and develop the personalities of my characters.

With my false starts, as soon as I saw a problem, I would give up. But now, I find myself wanting to fix it. I want to finish this story and see how everything pans out.

And more importantly, I want people to care as much as I do.

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