Thursday, June 9, 2016


I was at a monthly local writer's group last month and was sharing how my current work in progress was perplexing me.

It's a novella and I was about 3k words in, so about 10% done.

For the first time in a LONG time, I actually had a good idea of what I was going to write, what the hook was going to be, what/when the black moment would appear. I was pretty pleased with myself, since I am a self-professed seat of the pants author and can't pre-plot to save my life.

But my problem was....

I hated my 10%.

Okay, fine, maybe hated was too strong a word.

I disliked it... or no. Not even that. Something about it just didn't sit right. I would reread it and be like, Oh, this is so good... but then I couldn't write more. It just felt--flat.

It almost was like someone else's voice was telling a story.

One of the women in my group asked me if maybe I needed to start over.

I was like, OH NO. It isn't THAT bad. I just have to figure out what is bothering me about it, fix that, and go on my merry way. Because the writing was actually pretty good for a rough draft. The character, at least one of them, was super real and flowed on the page nicely. She was a minor character in a previous story so I already knew her backstory and her motivators. And I THOUGHT I knew her story.

But still...

So this last week, I was at my inlaws for a few days and was sitting down at my computer, thinking about my story.

I decided to be dumb and go back to my title.

I'd slapped it on there and while I didn't hate it, it sat with me about as well as my 10% did.

So I thought---maybe if I thought of a better TITLE, then it would help me write, right?

I was mulling it over and playing with letters (I already knew most of it--- it is a sequel to A (kinda) Country Christmas so I knew I wanted A (sorta) S______ S_____) and suddently the PERFECT title hit me.

A (sorta) Southern Serenade.

It flowed off my tongue and my stomach got excited jitters.

I KNEW this was the right story, and since Kendra is/was a singer/actress, and the story takes place around Nashville, it totally fit!

New title in hand, I went back to my work in progress.

And it became glaringly obvious.

I swallowed as I eyed the Delete button. It needed to go. All of it. Every single word for the 10%.

I would love to be able to say that I was woman enough to hit that delete button. But I was not. Like most smart writers, I instead did a little cut/paste option so I have that 10% just in case I need it later for something.

But I started over. Now I'm only about 300 words in... so what, 1%? And I write a little back-cover copy that again, made me do a little dance and clap my hands in giddy anticipate... something the previous idea never, ever did.

It's amazing what can happen when you become one with the delete---or cut/paste---option.

I'll be working this weekend on getting those words back down on the page. Of figuring out where in the world this story is going to take me (because even though I have a bit of an idea now, I'm back to my SOTP self that has no clue where it will end up and how they will get there) but I'm excited to write now. I'm grinning at the idea. I'm no longer trying to ignore that rock in my gut that was telling me something was not right.

Good riddance, rock! 

What about you? Have you ever had to scrap an idea and start over? Delete a really amazing scene that just didn't feel right?

Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and writes romantic comedy. Her latest book A Side of Love, released February 29, 2016.  She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at She is represented by Sarah Freese of Wordserve Literary.


Angie Dicken said...

Oh yes, Krista! I am the same way...I have so many files that say "so and so scene", or "alternate beginning" because I need to cut it to get to the good stuff! It's so hard to know when to do that when you first start as a writer, but after getting time under your belt, you heighten that internal alarm system when things just aren't the way they potentially can be!!!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

I usually delete most of my entire first chapter in my books. So weird.