Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Be Afraid to be Bold.

Which is of course a follow up to my "Don't be afraid to suck' blog.

Why is this the subject of this week's blog?

Well, I got reminded of this as I have been hired to do a page 1 rewrite.

I kept trying to 'honor' the original work(which was deemed by the editor as unpublishable so a little lapse in logic there) and I would quell my own instincts and try to write within the framework of the first draft.

Um, while that all is true, really what it came down to was the fact I was afraid to be bold on this new project.

How did I figure out, that once again, fear was the culprit?

I had a bold instinct. I did not act on it.

I turned in a scene. I got a note back from the editor "I know the scene works but what about if we switched the POV to the child?"

Urg! I could have kicked myself. I not only wanted to do just that but I wanted to ditch the stupid villain involved in the scene.

So I wrote back and relayed I agreed and suggested we ditch the villian.

She wrote back, "That's what I was thinking too!"

Now here I am having to rewrite (again) five pages because I didn't trust my instincts. I was so worried about putting together a decent draft that I forgot to write well.

I am being paid basically to write boldly.

Now, if you are having trouble writing consistently, don't worry about boldness. Just write daily.

However if you've got the giving yourself permission to write poorly thing down and are writing consistently, think BOLD.

The #1 thing that bugs me is if a writer just writes stuff that we've 'seen before.' When they take the safe route. When they give me the most obvious choice.

We talk all the time about 'digging' deeper. Most of the time your first thought is the easiest option. Most of the time the first 2 or 3 thoughts are your brain just skimming your creative waters.

Your creativity runs deeper than that. Utilize it!

Whether on the first draft or the third draft, stop and for every scene think "How is this bold?"

Now don't think I mean bold to mean stupid. I am not telling you to just throw everything and the kitchen sink into the mix.

What I mean is choose an unexpected POV. Commit to your descriptions. Be specific and somewhere along the way surprise us.

Your assignment? Go to a scene that you just aren't happy with. Imagine you had no rules to follow (internal logic, word count, suspension of disbelief). How would you 'fix' this scene? Think bold first, then make the solution follow the rules. #inthatorder ;-)

And if you would like to see how 'bold' I was with "Plain Jane" (so far most people are shocked I 'went there' so I feel like I fulfilled my boldness pledge) here's a link to read 50 pages for FREE.

If you decide to read the entire thing and find out EXACTLY how far I went (I am warning you, I went further than most consider acceptable), here is a 50% off coupon code: RH88E
Just use it at check out, then let me know what you think! :-)

Until next week!!!!!!!


  1. Be bold, I've often thought to myself that's what I do, but there are others out there that think I'm too bold...this was a good post- thanks for posting it.

  2. You've reminded me of something author Sean Ferrell said in a recent interview I read online, that writers should write the things they're most afraid of.

    Great post and great advice. From both of you!

  3. What a great reminder. It's hard sometimes to not get caught up in the mire of "writing well."

    I just finished some freewriting and before I hit post, I stopped a moment to wonder if what I wrote was appropriate. I ended up posting anyway under the logic that it's just freewriting and it's supposed to be stream of conscious. One can control what spills from our conscious as much as one can control what happens in dreams.

    Thanks for the okay to be BOLD without apology.

  4. This is a great post and one we should read again. You have taught me this. Some really fab ideas and words come out of just writing...sucky or not. Writing everyday is the key to success.

  5. That pretty much sums up how I try to write each time. Sometimes, you want to take it easy in fear someone might not like what you're writing, but you have to write from the heart. Writing boldly is what makes it all special.

    Plus, I don't really want to fit into a mold haha.

  6. Think BOLD, and also follow your instincts. Your first instinct is so often right, in writing as in the SATs.

  7. Great Post. I couldn't find the link, although you succeeded in whetting my appetite for it!