• Sheila R. Lamb

Inspired Writing vs. Good Writing


At what point do we give up our originial inspiration? When we rework and edit and critique and workshopto the point that the original no longer remains?

My first five, for example, pages have been reviewed, edited and workshopped by some excellent writers and authors. The beginning doesn’t resemble my original beginning at all – for good reason. I’ve gone from backstory (not good) to action (better). I feel like its been so reworked, I have no objectivity. I no longer connect with it. The spark is gone.

Why doesn’t that first flush of inspiration carry us through? Perhaps there is a relationship analogy…the spark, the chemistry of the beginning of a relationship has to be solidified with work, compromise, and understanding – if its going to last.

I have a prologue that I love which, of course, doesn’t get sent out with partial requests. I’d like to be able to work the prologue into the first chapter. However, that delays the battle-scene action for about a page and a half. From the critiquers, it seems to be a 50/50 split…some like the gradual beginning. It gives them a sense of place, of setting of the characters before swords clash and blood…well…bleeds. Others (famous published author included) encourage going straight to the battle, grab the reader right away.

I suppose the trick is to try and merge the two, to weave the words together in such a way that the gradual setting cushions the harshness of war. Like a relationship, inspiration and craft must be combined for a solid story to be told.

The blizzard will give me plenty of time to play with this first scene.

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