My point is, that making a decision and then trying to execute on that decision is much more important than trying for the ‘right thing’. For example, my Mad Scientist short story was going along quite swimmingly, I was having fun reading and writing it. Usually a good sign. But around the 3.5k mark, I started dithering.
I couldn’t decide if I should end it right at 4k words with a humorous denouement or if I should expand the story, swing for the fences (probably 7k words) and make the story darker and more disturbing. I literally couldn’t seem to decide and the story just sat there, unfinished.
Then during my weekend editing class, I had a revelation: It’s up to me to make the decision. And it doesn’t matter WHAT I decide. I just needed to make a decision and then follow through and try to do it well.
I know, I know. Obvious. Mark “Kooky Pants” Edwards took HOW long to figure this out?
Sigh. All I can say is that I may have started over-analyzing things. This might be an occupational hazard for a want-to-be author. Too many books on writing, too many classes, too much advice. It was easier, simpler before I knew all the rules. I just WROTE Smooth Running. Sure, it has flaws, but it’s a spanking good read. So to speak.
It is up to us. We’re the writer. No one can make these decisions for us: what to write about, how to end it, how to characterize someone, what is your story theme. All critique partners can do is help us by pointing out when the decisions we made didn’t work for them. That’s all.
We’re the writers. We have the freedom and the responsibility to do the writing, to make the decisions.
So. Final thought, don’t worry about the decision you’re trying to make. Just make it, choose something, then write the heck out of it, go full bore, commit to the decision once it’s made. Don’t wait, don’t dither, don’t freeze. Decide and move on.
There are so many more stories than we have time to write. Keep writing.
*Going to stop that there before I get off on a tangent about OODA loops and Col. Boyd.