Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Have you ever second guessed yourself and what you write?

Have you ever heard that tiny, insanely loud voice in the back of your head screaming, “No one will like this, what are you thinking?”

Yeah, I think we've all been there.

It's not always easy to ignore that voice. It can actually be pretty difficult at times.

Sometimes we give in to that voice, become easy victims and crumble under its weight.

I've learned that you can pull out your hair, rewrite the same scene a million times in one night, and still when we doubt our characters, when we know this is what they would say or do and still we change our story, we change them because we think others won't love them, well, it just won't work.

In the end, if you force your characters to do something they wouldn't do, or make them say something you know they would never say, your story will never feel right.

It will never be true to yourself, or to your characters.

We have to write for ourselves. What makes our heart race and our stomach flip is what we should pour out into our story. The characters we know and love should be the burning flame in our desire to write.

We can't write for others.

Writing is about opening yourself up to the impossible, and believing that it is possible. Escaping this world and entering theirs—understanding them and breathing the same air that they do is where the love and devotion really is.

To me, that's the way to write; loosing myself in their magical realm and not questioning their emotions or actions, but trusting them, embracing the tale they’re sharing with me.

After all, our characters know their own story better than we do. We just have to listen.

If we just open ourselves up to them and listen, I bet they will amaze us in ways we never even thought were possible, they'll show us that nothing is impossible.

What about you bloggers? Do you ever second your characters? Your story?

Years have passed, time has flown by, yet we have remained the same, and I had a feeling we would be like this forever; lost in a love that was unfathomable to the rest of the world- Drake


  1. Great blog post.

    My issue right now is second guessing which novel is the best one to send out first, and thus finish the rewrites/edits first. I have so many that I like, tons of great characters, but I sometimes wonder if I'm working on the wrong ones. It's hard to tell which story will be the one.

  2. Dawn-- Perhaps they're both the story for you. It's possible for us to be drawn to more than one story. Which ever you pick to send in first or to work on first is okay, because the other one will still be there waiting for you when your ready.

  3. I don't usually second guess myself until i get to the querying stage. Before that I'm basically writing the book I'd like to read but can't because it doens't exist yet- so I don't give much thought to what others might think. Enjoying the writing is the most anyone can do in the beginning me thinks.

  4. Usually my writing flows the smoothest when my characters are talking. I type as fast as I can as I hear their voices and words. When I listen, it goes quickly. I don't try to interrupt the flow with descriptions or movements until later.

  5. I tried to make my character do something she would never do, but it was like a flame burning under me. "I would never...I would never..." She kept saying it, and I'm glad I listened. Our characters have voices. If we let them speak to us, the story will be that much better. Awesome post, love. Awesome.

  6. I've never faced this problem with my main characters, but I have with a few secondary ones. I wanted them to be a certain way and they kept changing it so I had to go along. They knew best, after all =)

  7. Love Drakes quote. Your so right about how are characters will choose what their going to do. I'm often seized with fear and stop writing because I'm not sure what happens next. But I always find the path when I let myself relax and just write. I'm often amazed at what my characters decide to do, but it's usually much better than what I wanted them to do. Only a writer will understand what I just wrote.

  8. I'm not sure if I second guess the story, but I get overwhelmed by it. It ends up being "OMEffinG I have so much still to write, I'm never going to be an amazing author!" :)

  9. I'm always second guessing my writing. I think, "Is this too dull?" or "Am I 'telling' too much?" or "Is there enough plot?" or "Is my main character boring and whiny?" all these thoughts. Really you just have to buckle down and write and try not be be held back by it all but it is hard.

  10. I write for myself because I've come to realize that writing for anyone else is worthless. If you aren't true to your heart, then what's the point. I appreciate anyone with the same philosophy.

  11. Insightful post. I think we all go through that second-guessing many times during writing and revising a manuscript. I know it's definitely happened to me before! But I think the best part about it (because I'm determined to find a silver lining) is when we finally come across a scene that WORKS and it makes us go "oh, yeah, I CAN do this!" :)

  12. What you call second guessing is what I call evaluating my prose. Am I doing what I set out to do? Is the tension all it should be? Is this clear to the reader?

    I'm currently writing a ghostly murder mystery serial on my blog where I find myself in the world of my characters from various of my books.

    I'm having fun. I hope my friends dropping in are.

    I'm glad I found your blog, Roland

  13. Roland- That sounds awesome. I'm going to check it out.

    All of you sound like such insightful and devoted writers!

    Keep it up!

  14. Sometimes I'll cut or add something one day when editing and then the next day add it back or erase what I added. It's really ridiculous sometimes, all this second guessing. :) You're so right, though, sometimes we need to stop thinking so much and just let our story happen.

  15. I just got a WIp back from a critiquer and she did not like one of my plot twists. She was down right furious at my character. I'm going to have to sleep on it and figure out whether or not I'm going to change this scene. It's tough.

  16. I second guess myself sometimes ... tempered with confidence it can be a good thing, always looking for the other angle. Usually sleeping on it helps--the answer often comes right before I go to sleep!

    Happy weekend!

  17. Seconding guessing my story is, I believe, a part of my genetic make-up. On the other hand, I never doubt my characters. They speak to me in ways I've never thought possible. And recently, I let them take over and everything is going perfect!

  18. I love the way you wrote that. YES - I am always second guessing myself. It's hard being a perfectionist because I feel as though nothing will ever be good enough. I'm constantly tearing apart and rewriting sections, but I like to think that I am getting better through the experience. I think it's a part of being a writer but that's what we have readers for - moral support and encouragement!

  19. Oh wow, Victoria, all I can say is a giant AMEN, because YES, I feel like this every time I finish a rough draft and reread it. I often find that I have forced my characters to do and say things they wouldn't. So revising, for me, is all about getting to know my characters better and letting them tell the story. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one!

    I hope you are safe from the tropical storm and enjoying or looking forward to your brother's return!

    Take care,

  20. It's great to know others feel the same!!! Thanks for commenting!!!

  21. Of course I second guess- I'm a writer! It's in our blood. I've found that usually when I second guess it's because I'm on the wrong track. Not always, but usually.

  22. 2nd guessing is in the writer's nature...unless we write strictly for ourselves. Then it doesn't matter. I think it helps to hone our skills and improve our stories.