Thursday, April 5

Don’t Pour Chocolate in the Mud Pie

Beginnings, endings, middles… When you start out, everything is a mix of the good, the bad, the brilliant and the traumatic question marks. Yes, no one’s writing starts out perfect. There will be some yawns and cringes and eye twitches involved.

Writers all struggle with different things. Perhaps you’re a superstar at beginning a story but things get sluggish in the middle. Eurgh, slugs! Gross little things, trailing gloppage through your story. These imperfections are things we must face when we write…but then we must salt them out later.

Have you ever read a book or a story that was sluggish in the beginning, only to be told that you had to keep at it because when it picked up, it was spectacular? Well, I’m a little too impatient for that. Why should I have to wade through gloppage to get to the gold? That’s like a parent telling their sick child that if they drink enough medicine, soon it will turn into honey. I smell lies.

I’ll admit it – I’m sceptical when it comes to fiction. The center of your story may be a rich, conflicting, tension ridden, twisting extravaganza...but if I have to chew through bark (and not the yummy cinnamon kind) to get there, I’m wasting my time and fuelling my scepticism.

Don’t envelope your fantastic story with a cruddy crust. It’s a waste of good literature. If you can write something that is so good in the middle, why can’t you spend your time making it crisp and delicious on the outside too?

Every part of your story is important. It may seem unfair to be held down by a slow beginning, filled with too much description or back story…but to the reader, you’ve dished them up an unsatisfying platter.

Whether it’s chocolate in a mud pie or a crisp pastry full of slug gloppage, it’s not the result you’re anticipating. When you begin writing, you need to experiment! You need to fling words around and make a mess and embrace the gooeyness. Just make sure that when you set out to rewrite and refine, you don’t avoid the parts of your writing that you are least comfortable with.

Which parts of writing do you find the hardest? Do they hinder you when you’re delving into a first draft? Do you find yourself slinking away from them when you should be facing them in rewrites?

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