Avoid Sabotaging Your Story

Whaaat happened!?! Your story was going so well and then it just, like, fell off the face of the earth!

Went south.

Took a turn and left you in the wind.

Or is suddenly beached, high and dry.

Okay, we all know there are learning curves and hitches in the get-along and reasons things don’t go as planned.

And I faced that myself, in a different way, but with similar results, just recently. I tried to switch where my website domains are housed and was told it would be a seamless transition. Simple.

So I was NOT prepared for a 2 DAY ONLINE DEATH. Which is what it looked like if anyone tried to email me or to look at one of my websites. “Where’d she go?”

Trust me, I was wondering that myself.

Okay, I’ll dispense with all the technical mumbo-jumbo (which I’m lost on anyway) and just say this was an interesting, if very frustrating, learning experience that relates to writers as well when things just aren’t working out right in a story.

Why Is this Happening to My Story?

What to do when your story is lost.

What now?

Stories morph as you write. Which is thrilling – but can be a real PAIN!

Writers like to think they are the ones in control (feel free to get a good laugh at that statement). I mean, logically, we are writing what WE want, making it up to suit ourselves, right?

The problem is that we consciously are dipping into our subconscious/creative minds. These creative brain cells are pesky rascals. They wander and we are used to that. We focus them and hone in on our purpose to get the words headed the right direction. It is all a part of writing and we are (another laugh here) controlling the process.

Until something happens …

That creative process has turned into an insistent urge, then a demanding need, to make a change. It “knows” your story needs a major shift or different view.

Maybe it seems a character is even talking to you about that need. (I promise I won’t tell non-writers that your characters are talking to you. We writers get it.)

The thing is this:

TIP #1: You already know what needs changing

That subconscious brain of yours can see which patterns will work–and which won’t. It can show you what you need to change if you just listen quietly to it. You don’t want to take every side street it offers, but when your subconscious just won’t shut up about how something needs to be changed, listen. You just might find that urge for a change is exactly what your story was needing all along. Forcibly ignoring it might both sabotage the story and thwart your creativity.

Listen quietly. Consider calmly. Decide on the best tack.

TIP #2: Transitions are difficult

Revisions–yuck! No changes are seamless. Period.

But look at the big picture. What will the result be? How will that improve the overall story? And isn’t the the point?

Once you realize a change will be worthwhile, you can commit to making it. Whether you are adding or removing a character or changing perspective or whatever it is, keep looking at the big picture. Keep in mind how this change might impact each scene and how it will impact the entire story.

TIP #3: One more review, please!

Whatever change you make to a story will likely impact more than you expect. That’s okay! Again, look at the result: an improved story overall. Make the necessary adjustments, realize there are now MORE adjustments to make. Make them and keep going!

So here are your steps to fix things when they go wrong:


When Your Story Lags (or Your Interest in it Fades):


  •  If deep inside there’s a niggling awareness that you need to make a change, make it.

    Get your story going again

    Get your story going again

  • Just because you’ve written something one way, like forever, doesn’t mean that it is the best way NOW.
  • Revisions are painful – accept it.
  • Things go wrong when you write (or rewrite) – fix them.
  • Something else will still need fixing – fix it too.
  • Then plunge ahead.

As for me? Well, the changes I’m making to my websites will create a better experience for my writers in the end. And that makes the nasty problems, frustrating issues and black-out days all worth it in the long run. For today … I’m just glad to be back online! Tomorrow? Forward again!

Want help with revisions you are considering?

Let me know. I’m glad to hash out ideas with you. Just email me and we can set up a FREE 20-minute phone call.


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Sandra Haven, Editor

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