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When the story doesn't work

Learn to search and test ideas

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Sometimes your story doesn’t feel right. You’re not sure what the solution is, but you know something is wrong.

Learn to listen to that instinct.

Something probably isn’t right, and your trying to force a solution may make it worse.

But that doesn’t mean you can walk away and wait for the correct answer to come. Often, the solution comes by testing ideas out, seeing if they work, and if they don’t, trying a new one.

At some point, you may feel exhausted, and you’ll need a rest. That’s allowed. Close the computer, take a walk, and rest the brain.

But then come back and test again.

The answer likely won’t come at the moment of the writing. It will come when you are away from the computer. But you need to do the work beforehand and test ideas out.

When the right solution comes, you’ll know it, but field testing some bad ideas can help you see when you’ve got the right one.

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Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.