In Search of the Aha Moment


I'm working with a premise I think is timely and thought-provoking
but cannot seem to wrap my head around the story's tone.

I'm on the second draft and have written and rewritten
the first two chapters a whole bunch of times,
each version feeling incrementally closer to
what the story needs yet not close enough for that Aha moment.

Part of the problem is I'm used to writing funny 
and this premise doesn't easily lend itself to humor
although it could probably be done; I'm just not sure I want that tone.

Another issue is maybe this story would be better told
as a young adult novel rather than middle-grade.

I've already switched from first-person to third
and now I'm thinking maybe go full-blown creepy dystoptian YA
rather than slightly funny middle-grade.

I need to focus, dammit.

                                                             image from

Because I spent MANY hours in pool halls, I'm channeling my inner shark 
in hopes of zeroing in in on what needs to be done.

However, if anyone has sage advice on how to successfully wrangle a story idea,
I'm happy to put down the cue and listen.


10 thoughts on “In Search of the Aha Moment

  1. I had the same issue with Mirrors. I have two files with the first 75 pages written very differently. After much debate and ho-humming I trunked it. Now, my trunking had some query-rejection angst mixed in there, but it was also realizing I could not wrangle to the story. Whispers, my WIP, is falling together a bit easier. I still am trying to find the balance between dark and suspenseful (it is a ghost story) but also bits of humor or lightness so it’s not a completely draining. So…uh…no advice for you, just personal experience. Sorry. 😦


    • I’m glad Whispers is coming together for you, Tracy! Hooray for projects that “fall in line.” HA. As if they ever bend to our will.
      The good news is even though yesterday’s working time was hard and I felt demoralized, I read over the revisions last night and feel as if I got it. We’ll see how I feel when I read it today but I’m feeling much more optimistic.


  2. ooh.
    It can be tricky to find the heart of a story at times.
    Trying different versions (pov, tense, etc) with the same scene is sometimes helpful. At a certain point–choose what is best.
    Good luck.


    • Thank you for that great suggestion, Sarah. I plowed ahead yesterday and feel pretty good about the changes I made. It’s as if I’m chipping away at a big hunk of rock and slowly, slowly revealing the story.
      I hope your work is going well. It’s always nice to see you here.


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