I recently had to zap the zit of a manuscript I was working on. Why? Because it was a nasty, festering ugly thing that had no purpose, no meaning. No matter how much I tried to ward it off or make it better, it just kept getting bigger and bigger until there was nothing else I could do except pop it.
What was so bad about it? Simply put, I tried to force a story to emerge when there really wasn’t one to tell. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There was a story in there…just not the right one. After 4,000 words, I’d worked my way into a corner and couldn’t back up. The crevice began to back fill. The more I tried to fix it, the more the junk kept piling up. The plot closed in around me, my escape paths were blocked off. The infection spread, heaping one terrible idea on top of another until I had this giant manuscript pimple that had to go. I covered myself, shielded my eyes and brought out the heavy artillery – the DELETE button. After copying and saving some rather clever lines I’d written, I closed my eyes and exploded my manuscript.
I thought there would be repercussions. I thought I’d have a scar. After all, I’d destroyed my creation, but you know what? I felt relief. The pain was over. Now I have a clean slate, and a new manuscript that is flowing like water from a mountain stream. Smooth. Pretty. No yucky bumps.
Sometimes, you have to zap the zit.