Mentor Monday: Looking back in order to move ahead


I’ve revised about two-thirds of my manuscript
and when I met with Claudia last week,
she cautioned me that in the final third
I must deliver on the tension developed thus far.

She’s right, of course.

But when you’ve ripped up your story’s floorboards
and knocked down a bunch of its walls,
it’s a bit overwhelming to figure out how to construct the remaining pieces.
Especially when you’re not entirely sure what pieces will be there.

But Claudia has a great method for writing the second half of your book:
Go back to the first half to see what’s there,and then use those elements in the latter part.

Stuff like:

  • The nosy neighbor down the street
  • The red and white twirly skirt
  • The dripping faucet
  • The neglected lawn
  • Best friend’s activist Grandma
  • The tiny photo album

These final chapters will require lots of new writing,
but at this point I’m only taking notes.
Lots of notes.

My middle mind had me include those elements for a reason,
and I trust that in time I will see how to construct a satisfying ending.

But sometimes you have to look back in order to move ahead.

6 thoughts on “Mentor Monday: Looking back in order to move ahead

  1. Great advice!

    Again and again, I’ve been surprised by some of the imagery my “middle mind” suggests. Love that aha moment when I discover a way to include them in subsequent chapters! Recursive events, recurring images…just as it is in life, right?


    • Re: Great advice!

      I bet you have those little threads running all through your chapters! I know what you mean about those aha moments; they are the very best. They feel so easy yet so magical, don’t they?


  2. That makes sense. In the screenwriting book I just read (Save the Cat!) he proposes making sure every character has an arc and the end of the book is where we see how each of them– from least important to most important– has changed.


    • Yes. I have to think about those sometimes, just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anyone. Overall, I think it’s good to go back to see what (and who) is already there.

      I like the title of that book – Save the Cat!


Comments are closed.