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If It’s Broken…Sometimes You Just Can’t Fix It

Back in the days of the Great Depression and World War Two, people learned to be super-frugal. They were admonished to wear things out, do without, and fix things.

But sometimes, things break and they can’t be fixed. At least, not so that they will maintain their original purpose.

Such was the case with the first two chapters of my latest novel in the “Pine Mountain Estates” series.

Based on the advice from this writing podcast episode, I completed the most thorough outline I ever had before putting pen to paper.

A-hem, fingers to keyboard.

I was stoked (that’s ‘80s lingo for “excited” if you’re under the age of thirty-five and don’t tell me “thank you” for defining it for you because then I’ll feel old and then I’ll have to lie down and take a nap because that’s what old people do and then I won’t finish my novel and then the world will be really sad).

Um, what was I saying? Oh, yes, I was gung-ho to start my latest novel. I got the prologue written, then started on the first chapter. Finished it, went on to the second chapter.

Didn’t finish it. Something wasn’t right. So I thought about it a little, went back to the first chapter, and rewrote large portions of it. Ditto for the second chapter.

A-a-annd…still something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Frustrated, I set it aside. Stared at my outline. Maybe the whole plot was wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t supposed to be writing this story.


Two days of trying not to think about it, and the answer came: the story was fine. The characters? No problem. Where was the problem? I was trying to write a scene that the book didn’t need, in fact which was dragging the whole beginning of the book – despite the fast-paced, interesting prologue.


I trashed the first chapter and a half. And started the story with the next scene I had planned.

BOOM! Success.

I couldn’t fix the first couple of chapters that I had planned for the book. They were unfixable, because they weren’t supposed to be part of the story.

I am now 7100 words into the novel (as of 2-9-19), a little less than 10% finished. Yay!

I’m stoked.

P.S. – Do you see a run-on sentence in the above article? Quote it in the comments section, and I will give you an A+ on today’s English assignment.

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