One of the biggest fears many writers have is the fear of not getting it right. Often times, this anxiety can be so debilitating that the story grinds to a halt, the author unable to progress because the story’s current status isn’t perfect (perfection is a myth btw, but that’s a post for another time). The purpose of this post is to assure my fellow writers that there is a way to escape the incapacitating fear of imperfection. I call it ‘the MultiVerse.’
The multiVerse is the multitude of universes created by alternate versions of the same story. Here’s how it works: any time I feel like something I’m working on is less than perfect crap, I either make a new document where I copy and paste a specific section, or ‘Save As’ and create a whole new draft. Now I’m free to beat, bludgeon, and disembowel the scene I’m working on without fear of harming a single ‘verse’ in the original version. Heaven forbid the new draft ends up worse than the original, I just start over again with another draft in another alternate universe.
I confess it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Like many authors, I frequently get attached to my writing. Scenes written in the Pool (see my post about this here) are especially dear to me, which makes deleting them especially gut wrenching. Thanks to the MultiVerse, I don’t have to. Whenever I feel the need to carve out or trim down something I really like, I simply make a new file.
In my first novel, Bobby Ether and the Academy, Bobby and Jinx have had dozens of adventures that didn’t make it into the published edition. In the first iteration, I had a sixty-page section in which Bobby and his friends explored additional levels of the archives, discovering ancient catacombs, as well as an old headmaster’s crypt.
Due to length (The book was 131k words at the time!), I reworked this section and rewrote it in twelve pages, ditching many scenes I loved dearly.At first I deeply lamented this lose, but later came to accept it. After all those earlier drafts still exist in the MultiVerse. Saved on my computer are docs where Bobby and his friends still find Master Jong’s scroll-copying station tucked away deep in the catacombs, and Jinx’s imagination still runs wild, convincing him that a hooded Master Jong is really a ghoulish apparition.
The bottom line is that, courtesy of the MultiVerse, nothing is every truly gone. All of those wonderful adventures still exist, like actors frozen in time, ready to resume as soon as their audience returns.
So the next time you’re struggling with what to write next, or afraid to mess up what you’ve already got, take advantage of awesome power of ‘Save As’ and expand your MultiVerse. Then go ahead and explore the possibilities risk-free. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
Bobby Ether and the Academy and the sequel Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity are young adult adventure stories that blend urban fantasy with new-age/spiritual fiction (Think Harry Potter meets the Life of Pi). More information can be found on the Facebook page, or on the about me section of this site.