The Difference Between Lightning and a Lightning Bug

For me, one of the hardest things about writing is figuring out why something isn’t working. All of a sudden, my writing grinds to a stop. I could push through it, but I’ve mostly stopped even doing that, because that’s my cue that something isn’t working. The question is, what? Yesterday I slaved over a scene that couldn’t have been more than 700 words, and when I’d finished it, I just wasn’t sure that it was working. Something wasn’t right.

Over dinner with my husband, it hit me that it wasn’t working because I’d written the wrong scene. Oh, it was the scene that was in my outline, all right. It just wasn’t the scene that needed to be there at that point in the story.

Today, I nuked the entire scene and replaced it with one that ran more like 1200 words, and those words just flowed. There was no struggling, because this time, it was the right scene. It’s frustrating to lose work when I still have hopes of meeting a September 1 deadline, but it was what had to happen to make the story work. And having the right scene is worth any inconvenience–sometimes, it’s the difference between a perfectly adequate story and one that jumps off the page at you.

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