Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Goosebumps or Gut

#YALITCHAT offered a lot of interesting insights today into what various authors do to make their first five pages keep someone's attention. But that isn't what this post is about. I think it'd be pointless for me to blog about that, because everyone has a different way of doing it, and not all techniques are going to work for every kind of story. Sometimes stories work best when they start out with action, sometimes they don't. Continuing on...

One chatter pointed out that he/she knows when something's good when goosebumps occur. I pointed out that I once got goosebumps reading the first draft of Witch Tourniquet, and it was, in fact, awful. There was no subjectivity to the awfulness of the manuscript. It was awful by fact, plain and simple, but I still got goosebumps for some reason when I read it. I can't for the life of my figure out why, because my gut begged to differ.

What, you ask? My goosebumps and gut conflicted? Pray tell? Frankly, I have no idea myself. But I've learned in my experience as a writer to not listen to those traitorous goosebumps. I've learned to listen to my gut, and it took me a few hard lessons to finally listen to it for good. My gut would go off, but it's such an easy thing to avoid, so I'd shut it from my mind. But later my beta reader would point out something my gut told me, and it took several critiques from my beta reader for me to finally give into my gut, despite how much extra work that makes for me.

Reader, what do you listen to? Goosebumps or your gut? Which do you think is better and why?

(By the way, let me specify that this is AFTER you've written the entire first draft)


  1. My gut. I've had the same thing happen to me--the betaing part, I mean, and not the goosebumps. Why? Simple: My gut knows better. I think of it as my sixth sense. I don't think of goosebumps as a sixth sense, so if I do get goosebumps, it doesn't necessarily mean the chapter is great.

  2. I tend to just avoid editing until the damn thing is actually written. Just write out everything inside of you, give birth to that baby, and then work on cleaning it up. If you need to rewrite a few sections, do it.

  3. Write first. Edit later. :)

    Also, I gave you a blog award!

  4. I listen to my intuition, or something. If it says something is off, something is off.