I have been editing, revising, slashing, adding, rewording and reworking my WIP for several months now, and my deadline to have it 'finished' is October 25th. As I get closer to that date, it seems the fine tuning, getting the details 'just right', is the most difficult part of the entire process for me. I have lived in the 1931 desert for almost two years, at least on paper, and I am so familiar with it, that I have become lost in the intimacy.
Time for a change of scenery.
I often talk about moving my 'writing desk' to different places. In the past year, I've written at the lake, in the desert, on a boat, in a plane, at a boxing match, in a hospital cafeteria, etc. But, I'm not talking about that kind of change of scenery. I'm talking about getting out of my world and spending some time in another.
Recently, Ciara Ballintyne, a twitter friend, asked if anyone would critique a short story she had written. I knew that Ciara wrote in the fantasy genre, and although I do read a lot while I'm writing, I tend to stay within my time period, or read authors whose styles are similar to my own. At the time Ciara offered her story up for review, I was tired of beating my head against a wall with my own WIP and agreed to read it. I needed to step out of my routine.
It was a beautifully written fantasy piece with dragons and fire and sirens, not at all what you would find in my current WIP. It took me, temporarily, to a different place: a different world.
Since I was critiquing and not just reading for pleasure, I had to dive into that world for a bit. I had to analyze it, critically. I had to be the thief, the dragon, the demon half-breed and the priest in order to see what they saw. I enjoyed the story and the diversion, but when I went back to my own WIP, I discovered something else.
Going to a different world for a bit forced me to see my own work with new eyes. Eyes that now hungered for the color, the fear and the magic of other worlds. Granted, I can't have a dragon swoop down on the Hoover Dam and set everything afire, but there were other formidable dangers that were just as daunting to my characters. I can't really insert a magic-slinging evil fairy, but my villain could sling a few things of his own. I went back through the first half of my manuscript and added more color and more fear. It took only a few words, a few sentences here and there to heighten the drama and add that little extra bit of magic.
As a writer, you do have to immerse yourself in your work and at times become the character and see what they see. But it's also important to step out of that world and view it as a whole. Sure, I could assume the role of a bystander atop a mountain looking down into the Black Canyon. But thanks to a temporary vacation to another world, instead, I flew through the canyon on the back of a scaly red dragon.
What a view.
Visit Ciara Ballintyne's website at: http://ciaraballintyne.com/