The More I Write, The Harder it Gets

by | October 24, 2013 | General | 2 comments

Writing isn’t like driving or cooking. Not for me. It seems to only get harder as the years pass. I don’t mean making up stories to tell, I mean the craft side of it.

I’m trying to tell a story.

A story is a plot, a series of events.

It should be simple enough to write it, but it isn’t. Not anymore. Maybe the problem is having too many options, or perhaps it’s an excuse not to write. But what I’m learning is that there’s no such thing as simply telling a story. I have to know how to tell it.

My first mistake, it seems, was picking the wrong main character. Events are facts, but those facts are seen from a certain viewpoint.  Originally, my main character was the murderer, but how can the events be a murder mystery to the killer? They know who dun it. Not a lot of mystery there.

So I got a better main character. But I’m still working on their compelling reason to figure out who the real murderer is. I hope that will come out as I write and I can fix it in the rewrite. For now, it’s a bit nebulous and nebulous leads to weak writing, so I’m not happy with that.

My second mistake is my always mistake, meaning I make this same mistake every time so you’d think I’d know better by now but apparently I don’t. And that mistake is: I start way too far back and take a long lope toward the inciting incident. I’m trying to put that inciting incident closer to the beginning, like in the first chapter.

It used to be that I could just sit down and write. I miss those days, although I suspect I’m a much better writer now. But why is it that every other craft seems to get easier with practice while writing just gets more difficult? It’s my inner critic, I know. I want to write well. I can’t figure out how to balance that painstaking and time-consuming drive with the pressure to spin out work as fast as I can.

I have no answers here. What is like for you? Is it getting harder?


LATE ADDITION that has nothing to do with my post, but have you seen this visual associative thesaurus? So cool!

Kathleen Bradean

Kathleen Bradean’s stories can be found in The Best Women’s Erotica 2007, Haunted Hearths, Garden of the Perverse, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6, and She’s On Top in print. Clean Sheets and The Erotica Readers and Writer’s Association websites have also featured her stories. Writing as Jay Lygon, her stories can be found in Inside Him, Blue Collar Taste Tests, Toy Box: Floggers, and the novels Chaos Magic, Love Runes, and Personal Demons. Read more about Kathleen Bradean at:


  1. Donna

    It's getting harder for me, too, Kathleen. And I also have some common "mistakes" that I make every time, mainly trying to put too many events and too much back story into the piece. I end up cutting and focusing, but you'd think I'd figure out the limits up front after all these years. I guess it's just part of the process. Maybe that's it, we have a process and we think we should "improve," but there's no way we can measure it like that. After all, in terms of popular acclaim, often an early or mid-career work of a writer or director or musician remains their most popular and famous. Yet in other ways, their later work has to be more accomplished and expert?

    It could also simply be that we are getting "better" but our expectations rise beyond what we feel we're accomplishing. And again, maybe that yearning is what makes writing happen at all?

  2. Lisabet Sarai

    Maybe you need to spend more time talking with us about your story and your characters? It sounds as though you're wrestling with this all by yourself. I heartily recommend an email exchange with Garce. He's great at asking questions that refocus your attention and reveal truths you didn't think you knew.

    (I'm also happy to bounce ideas around with you. But I'm not as good at this as Garce is.)

    Oh, and I'm intrigued by the notion of a murder mystery told from the murderer's point of view. It could work!

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