I am a lucky writer, I do not find myself writing myself up a cull-de-sac (or clueless sack!) very often, but when I do the only logical and necessary thing to do is to cut cut cut.
I was writing part of a relatively new piece the other day and it sort of crept up on me until after a few lines I realised I didn’t know where it was going. A few more lines and sentences of “trying to recover the situation” only made it worse and far more ugly until after half a page I had to STOP!!! This is CRAP and going NOWHERE!
And there it was, the blind alley to nowheresville just round the back of “hopelessly lost avenue” and the even worse, “dead end coffin”. It sucked and sucked big time.
But, with all of my acute writers training I knew what to do, no I didn’t panic, I stopped right there. Right there and not a word later. I stopped, saved and closed the file and left it to stew over night. There is not much that can’t be cured in first draft writing that an overnight pit stop in the ether can’t cure.
I looked at it fresh the next day and I was right, it was garbage, garbage writing, garbage action and completely wrong for the story, characters and what I was trying to say. So, out with the scissors and cut, cut, cut back the bus up and find a suitable place to pick up from.
That is the important part, making sure you back the bus up far enough. To only do a half or three quarter job is to deny the problem and to consider it only a small glitch. Back that bus up, back it up real far and make sure it is sitting in the land of action and gripping writing, then put it in gear and off you go, forwards to a new and brighter future.
Writers need to be brutal when they are writing, they simply have too. No half measures, no “fix it later” that doesn’t work because you KNOW it is there, right there on that page, you have even written it down in your notebook. You write “CRAP” in your notebook, page 57, para 3 to 7, there it is. No denying it and you know you cant just pass it over and come back to it later. It is there, every time you open your notebook, like the bogeyman under the bed, it is there and you have to deal with it NOW and not later.
It will only gnaw away at you, so be honest to the story, be true to yourself and cut it out NOW.
Then you will be able to sleep and move that story forward.
Trust me, I know, I am a writer too…..