Thursday, October 7, 2010

Knowing When It Is Working

The more I write, the faster I realize when a story isn't working. There are some stories that sound good, that I think should work, but when it gets to the writing, they simply don't.

When I was a newer writer, I would force that story. I'd grind my teeth and push the story together or the two love interests together or the baddie into being a true baddie. Sometimes the story ended up okay but the story was never, ever great, and frankly, great is what I need to build a career.

Now, I don't force stories. If a long story isn't writing itself by the end of chapter three, I quit that story and start something else. If a 10,000 word short isn't working by the 1,000th word, I do the same. If I don't want to reread what I've written, I stop.

I truly believe that's why many agents ask for the first three chapters. They know by reading three chapters whether or not the story will work. I've gotten to that place also.

I fought it. I'm not normally a quitter. I've gotten where I am in the world through dogged persistence. So I had to frame the quitting differently. I now think of it as trading a project that won't work for one that does.

My publishing schedule under Kimber Chin might not reflect it but this has resulted in me writing and completing MORE projects than before. I figure my new approach is working, even when some of my stories don’t.


Kimber Chin is sharing one of her stories for free on


Ciara Gold said...

I never toss mine out but I leave them alone for long lengths of time and usually end up rewriting them.