This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.
This month’s question — Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?
What do I do if I question a scene’s importance, placement, or something else? That depends…
If I’m conflicted because I don’t know enough:
That’s easy! I research until everything snaps into place. That cerebral feeling tells me my learning curve is now flat, no longer an insurmountable hill pitted with potholes. Until then, I don’t add it to the story.
If I’m conflicted because it’s a topic I’m uncomfortable writing, like sex or violence:
Also easy. I only write what fits my voice and style. ‘Story by soundbite’ is frightening, that the excerpt selected by a well-meaning reviewer is oh-so-not-me. BTW, this has nothing to do with the topic. I know people have sex. I just don’t want to put words to it.
Having said that, I do write about other difficult topics. Violence is a good example. My characters’ world is brutal. I portray its passion and energy but avoid gratuitous blood and gore (I hope). Sex–nope. I haven’t (yet) came to terms with that topic so I skip it. Of course, the addendum to that question is: What if an agent or publisher said I must add it. Thank goodness I’m my own agent so never have to face that decision!
If I’m conflicted because I wonder if a particular scene fits the story’s theme:
Yes, that happens, and usually one of many re-reads ferrets it out. I either move the scene to a better location or delete it. That latter choice–you should see my ‘cut’ file!
What do you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022