Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Butterfly Effect

So you've had the most blindingly, stunning idea hit you at 2am (yes, you noticed correctly, I used an adverb in the first sentence...sue me...a writer needs to put them somewhere!!!).  You spend the next few weeks battering away at the keyboard.  There is an open channel from you to the Great Muse Above and it feels like the story just writes itself.  It's as if your words can literally fly off the pages:

And then...

You read your story back two weeks later and your amazing butterfly has been stomped flat on the ground.  The story just doesn't read right.  Something doesn't click.  But what?  How can such a great plot, peopled with deep concepts and amazing characters be so...blah?

While you knew your story inside and out as you had that flash of inspiration, when you come back cold, a lot of the background information in your head is gone.  You just have the words on the page to work with.  And that is exactly what it's like for your reader.  They don't know your Muse's sparkling undertones and overtones.  They have only the words on the page.

But don't despair!  This is a GOOD sign.

For those who live always in the warm embrace of their Muse, it can be almost impossible to recognize WHEN your reader just can't feel what you feel.  So, if you are one of the lucky one's whose Muse does a runner the moment you put down the pen, just remember...this is the way of the butterfly.  It guides you to an amazing story, it leaves you cold, then gives you the chance to read your book as the reader does.

So use it to your advantage.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking "how did I think this is good, when it's really not?"  Instead, turn it around and think "I am so grateful I have the opportunity to work this story to where I can make it what I want it to be."  As they say...I was blind, and now I see...

May the butterflies be with...and away...from you.


  1. I had to laugh when I read this, as I'd just sat up straight in bed at 2:36 am with a story idea that I dreamed I was reading allowed to a classroom of children. I thought for sure the idea was an actual book...then I checked just now and found it was a story I had just made up in my dream. I've never had an idea hit me quite this way. I've written it out (it's a picture book so the basic idea didn't take long) and I will wait a few weeks and see where the butterfly takes me. Thanks for posting!

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