For the record, wrestling an octopus makes me think of Cthulhu. And Cthulhu makes me think of the Ood. Which just goes to show all roads lead to Doctor Who.
Right. Where was I?
Wrestling an octopus, yes. Because it’s like I’ve unleashed all of these arms that were once pinned down and now are flailing around and I’m trying to pin them all down again and make them behave. On some level I know I’ll get them all pinned down again, but right now this seems like one big octopus and I’m no Bear Grylls. (Does Bear Grylls even wrestle octopus? I have no idea.)
But here’s the really cool part about all of this work: I’m learning.
I’m learning the importance of staying flexible. Like…well…octopus arms!
When I logged on to WordPress to write this post, I saw DexRaven’s post about killing your darlings (always sound advice) and I realized what I had to say was kind of along the same lines.
We writers are such a silly lot. We write our stories and we lovethemlovethemsomucharen’ttheyprecious?! When we feel brave enough, we show them to other people, and the other people see things that we don’t see and they make suggestions to make our precious stories better.
And sometimes, well, that doesn’t sit so well. Change is hard, and it’s so much easier to stay blind to those things that can be improved or to harden ourselves to the possibility that maybe we didn’t get it quite right the first time. Or not even that, but maybe just that there’s another way to do it that is just…better.
So, I’m working through the notes from my editor, and I’m finding again and again and again that as I unpin these octopus arms, all kinds of new (read: better) opportunities open up in the story. It’s really exciting to go through this process and see the story grow into an even more satisfying read.
But none of this would be happening if at any point along the way, I’d not been open to change. If I’d not been flexible. Even going waaaaaaay back to the first drafts I showed to my writers group, back before the novel looked anything like it does now.
Ugh. I am so glad I didn’t stop back then when it was a terrible, awful, ugly first draft mess.
Revising can be hard (Octopus arm! Duck!), but it can also be so good.