July 11, 2003, Newsletter Issue #22: A Story`s Innate Intelligence

Tip of the Week

At some point in revision, your story will begin to assert its own ideas for how it should develop. Though you are the creator and ultimately in charge of the direction your story takes, you should be sensitive to the "voice" of your story. You are like a sculptor, chipping away at the rock. Something beautiful and perfect lies beneath, and how close to it you get depends on how good you are at using your writerly ears. It takes focus and extreme quiet. You must think: What should this story/poem feel like when it`s finished? You will no doubt experience the frustration of trying something in your story that just flat refuses to work. This is the story´s way of directing you toward what DOES work. Eventually you have to let go a little, let the story write itself. You learn to experiment and trust your gut. You must be able to admit when something isn´t working--even if it is an idea you love intellectually.

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