Today is the day my family has been waiting for. Today the old farm house is coming down. The wrecking crew will be here this afternoon. I have errands to run this morning, lunch with a good friend, but I'll be back to see the walls crumble.
The house is only forty years old; the one before it was nearly one hundred and my husband's family sold it for $1 to another family. They moved it about ten miles away where it still sits majestically in the woods. I wish I had been around when the original house had been sold. I would have given it the TLC it needed. I wouldn't have settled for a cheap substitute with no character. Selling a five bedroom home with a formal dining room, living room and parlor for a buck boggles my mind. But the Larson family back then was looking for quick fixes rather than timely remodeling.
And so, I urge caution when facing defeat regarding a story that needs work. Don't give in and take the easy way out. Don't throw it away. Dig in, even to the foundation if you have to - to figure out where the problem lay. When a book doesn't flow, you the writer, have been holding back seomething. Your characters? Your plot? Your emotions? Think back to why you wanted to write that particular story. Why was it important to get those words on paper? What was it you wanted to share? If you can answer those questions, then you can remedy what's wrong.
Fixing something broken is never easy, but it is worthwhile. My daughter is fixing a wrong made in our family forty years ago. She is going right down to the foundation of the problem. She and her husband are building a new foundation on an old site. It will be a new addition to a very old farm. The time it takes to build a new home will be long, but the end result will be like a new beginning. It will be a new era for the Larson farmstead. The value of the whole farm will increase.
The value of your work will grow too once you discover where you went astray. You'll prove to yourself that some things are worth saving, no matter the cost. The pockets of bad writing will crumble to be replaced with a clear, concise storyline you are proud of. Don't give up, you'll be a stronger writer for having repaired your own fumblings. If you need help, by all means ask someone for guidance. My daughter and son-in-law won't be pounding nails to wood ... they are building a dream, bringing it to life. It's the action that is important.
Always the action. Like walls tumbling down.
Til next time ~
Mark your calendar: Visit DL Larson and Morgan Mandel at Schaumburg Barnes & Noble on Thursday, November 29: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.