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Gaining Perspective By Gaining Distance

Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellison, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Ellison, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I spent the day working on some prep work for the Workshop for Writers event tomorrow and also, translating my original 15k project, The Golden Triangle, to a reasonably recognizable outline.

Each of the different colors on the outline (see below) represents a different POV.  I’ve got “To Do” status on most with a few “First Drafts” indicated.  The majority of those scenes are in white because they are either new scenes or scenes that are currently assigned to a God-like POV and need to be re-written from one character’s perspective or another.

I have learned a few important things about my writing from 2005 (eight years ago, yikes!) and some differences that are going to be rough to work through.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 7.23.12 PM

Difference #1: This isn’t a mystery novel.

This really isn’t a mystery at all. The mystery is mostly a red herring tacked onto the end and it doesn’t serve the plot. It could probably be left out.  What this is, at least, the way the first draft reads, is a historical romantic comedy.

Difference #2: This is going to be a longer book than I thought.

I’ve got about 80 working scenes (give or take 5) and my scenes in the first draft run about 1000 words.  An 80,000 word MS is not a bad length for a romance. I think some of the sub-plots could be condensed down and that might shorten the length overall.

Difference #3: The love scenes don’t work.

My “love” scenes from eight years ago, embarrass me.  So much so in fact, I may burn those entirely.

Difference #4: Character development is poorer than I remembered.

I see some marked plot development in the style of The Hero’s Journey, but the MC is not as proactive as an MC ought to be.  She is more like flotsam, tossed about the waves by the actions of others.  Not an inspiring heroine.

Difference #5: (This may be the most important difference of all)

I have grown significantly as a writer, and certainly, as a reader, over the past eight years.  I’m not exactly thrilled at the flaws in the original draft that I’ve found, but I am pleased that I am now able to recognize those flaws now.  In part, that’s got to be because of the distancing from the original work but also, because I am a stronger writer than I was at that time.  That gives me hope.

Have you ever gone back and re-read a book or story and discovered that your reaction to it was different from what you remembered having the first time around?  Do you think that your perspective changed over time or has the work changed?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

This entry was posted in: Writing


Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has two decades of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at LaurenJoanMiller.com.

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