G is for Gut

When I wrote my first draft I was trying to please. I was writing a happy little story with a skeleton of what it really should have been, but fear, rejection, pre-judgement were holding me back. I can't use that word, I can't hurt my character in such a way, I can't put them in this situation, I'm not a good enough writer to even try a descriptive passage like that. An early critique told me the draft had too much wordiness and too little going on. But cutting out all that pretty fluff will make my word count go down and I'll have nothing. I was so wrong. Cutting out all the wordiness enabled me to dig deeper. It brought me to my knees and made me think, really think about what I wanted people to read when they opened the front cover of my book.

After a night spent laying awake with thoughts going wild I rewrote the first section and began a path toward a newer, better, more risque, more honest manuscript. I could actually feel my characters now, I knew their fears and I used that knowledge to drag them through the mud a little. Sometimes it got so deep that I even cried and I wondered, why hadn't I had the guts to write the book this way from the start?

So I tell you, use your gut. Don't worry about your skills, or about censoring. Don't think about anything but what your characters want you to do. Tell the story right.


  1. A Gut instinct can be very powerful- Great post!

  2. It sound like you did some excellent editing. I find it really useful to have to cut words. The result is always crisper and more powerful... that's why my A to Zs are quadragintals - just 40 words each.


  3. Cool. Going to check it out now!

  4. You have to be fearless when you cut but it always pays off.

  5. Your gut will always tell you what's right, even if someone tells you otherwise. You have to be true to yourself or you will never be satisfied.

    Way to go Amy!

  6. Sounds like the editing was gut-wrenching, but worth it.

  7. I think I may have mentioned this before. In 1925, when Yeats was about to publish his 'Mythologies', he got together with Lady Gregory and they edited, re-edited, and double re-edited, until they came down to the purest form of language possible.

    The result is 'Gutsy' prose, that one can read over and over.

  8. Exactly! Very well said, Amy. :)


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