Michelle Wittle On the First Rule in Writing

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

Everything that you love in your story, throw it out. If you love this one character…get rid of that character. If you love the setting…change it.

I know you are thinking ”what”? Here me out on this theory of story destruction.

I have this novel sitting in my computer for the past three years. I tried a few times to get it published, but it was always denied. I just thought it was because I was sending it to the wrong places. However, I now think it was because I wrote the wrong book.

I have so many things in the book that I love. I also let others read it and they loved what was written as well. Therefore I got lazy and just thought my novel was more then good enough because these two people loved what they read.

But my novel isn’t the best it can be and I know that now. All the things I love in the book blind me and I can’t make the book any better because I don’t want to let all those things go.

I have to let those things go. The book isn’t as powerful as it needs to be and that is horrible. My main character is a shadow of who she needs to be because I am so in love with the other characters I have in the book. She should be my main focus and yet I am letting her suffer. Also, the message in the book is the same message in all books just like it. My book is bringing nothing new. It has no new spin.

So, now I am at a serious cross roads. Do I throw out all that I have written and start over or do I try to fix all the “broken pieces”?

In creating that book, I lost what my main focus was in writing the book. I let all those things I love dilute my purpose.

I am going to take the basic things from my book and rewrite it. The things I love will not be present in this new edition. I will keep my focus of my novel.

In my book I made a lot of rookie errors. However, I think the biggest one I made was allowing the things I love take front stage to my real purpose.

When you love something in your writing, take it out. You may be able to put them back in later…but right now…in its early stages…you have to just let it go.

What is that saying if you love something, set it free? If it comes back to you, it was meant to be.

The same thing goes for your writing.

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2 thoughts on “Michelle Wittle On the First Rule in Writing

  1. Then, you never can tell. I posted on The Rose & Thorn blog last year about a story––not a nove–– I finally gave up on after submitting and revising and resubmitting only to have a workshop leader tell me in so many words, it wasn’t very good. The day after my post I got an acceptance for that very story, and since it was online people continue to write to me about how much they love it.

    1. Nannette:
      You are right. the writing world is a very strange place. What may not work for others may work for someone else. I know that for myself, I get so caught up in trying to make sure this one neatly worded phrase or cool description gets into my work, that I build the story around that instead of letting the story just tell itself.
      For me, when I love something, I have to let it go. The right story will come around that whatever I love will just click into.
      I guess the basic lesson here is to just let the story happen and writing should never be forced.

      Thank you for commenting. I always look forward to hearing from you and your wisdom is such an asset to our readers.

      All the best,
      Michelle Wittle

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