Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Okay, I admit it. The title for this entry is absolutely a cliche. An alternate title might be "Perspective." (I'll save the whole subject of titles for another blogging day). I'm talking about the perspective on a piece of writing that can come with time away from that writing. There's something about being too deeply inside the story that limits your capacity to judge it fairly. I have a piece I thought was an absolutely useless mess. Someone critiqued it and I realized from their comments that I should not, in fact, throw it away and forget about it all together. But I still couldn't stand to think about it or look at it. I was convinced it would be an impossibly convoluted task to make any sense of it at all.

But it kept tickling at my brain, saying, "Come on. You finished a draft of me. You spent a whole year with me. Come back for a visit." I have resolutely steered clear of it for a good two years now. But when I finished my last novel, I decided to give it another look, fully believing I would still want nothing to do with it.

Lo and behold! I found myself caught up in the story, where before I thought there was no story to speak of. I discovered it had a lively pace and the main character had some real gumption to her that I had been completely unaware of. The whole thing moved along nicely and kept my interest. Then I looked back at the synopsis and it all started to crystallize. The problem spots offered solutions to themselves and the arc of the plot seemed to shimmer into focus. I guess sometimes you need a two-year break to really appreciate something, and what was exhausting at one time can be inspiring at another.

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