The Forest for the Trees

Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, POV, etc., etc. Edit, revise, tweak, edit some more. And when you look up from the details, what you see is a patchwork that no longer looks like a novel. The words are correct, but you’ve lost the thread. The characters speak and act, but you’re no longer sure exactly who they are what they’re supposed to be doing.

Getting so lost in the details that you can’t see the whole picture anymore is one of the reasons for taking a vacation from the writing for a while. Your eye has run over the same material so many times that you’ve become blind to problems that jump right out at a new reader. That’s the reason most often given for backing away and taking a break. But even worse, you’ve lost your sense of the story.

One of the unexpected delights of this last revision of Boundaries is that, after having been away from it for three months, I have an unobstructed view of the whole. When I finish working on a scene, I know that it’s much better than before, but I can also see how it fits, how it moves the story along, how it reveals a bit more about a character.

For the first time, many of my doubts about the story have been swept away. It isn’t perfect. And maybe, years from now, when I’m a more experienced writer, I’ll be able to look at it and see how I could have made it better. But that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that I finally know it is, after all the hard work, the story that I wanted to write.




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