Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I welcome a good epiphany. Usually. A sudden insight into the reality or meaning of something is never a bad thing. Well, never?

The other night I got blindsided by a big, fat, uninvited epiphany. As with most epiphanies, this one was sparked by a simple experience—I was reading an author interview in Writer’s Digest. But the epiphany itself was not so simple. It felt something like being body slammed by a pregnant elephant. I did not enjoy this particular insight. Not because of it’s size, or the slam, but rather because the ah-ha moment targeted my work in progress.

I have been busy revising a novel that I am pretty happy with. The revising has been going along smoothly--until the tackle by the four-ton epiphany. Now, although I believe that this insight will benefit my novel, I wonder if I can pull off what needs to be done. I am grumbling because accomplishing this means that I will have to go back into my structured, set plot and uproot things. I will have to rework and revise. Elements of the novel will become unsettle and characters will get knocked on their butts. Hunks of copy will have to be rewritten and reworked or trashed. The plot will almost certainly get tangled. Doubts and trepidations will surface and interrupt.

So, although I welcome epiphanies, I sometimes dread what they demand. But this is all part of being a writer, isn’t it?

What do you think about epiphanies—the good, the bad, and the ugly?


  1. Yes, definitely pros and cons to them. But mostly pros because even though they can turn into a lot more work, your story will be stronger in the end. But even so I do find myself dreading the upheaval!

  2. I can so identify with what you are going through! I've had to ask myself if it's worth it or should I just set the work aside and start over or start something new altogether.

  3. Ugh, yes. But better to have it before the book has been printed and bound, and can't be changed!

  4. Remembering that the story will be stronger in the end is key, isn't it, ladies? But pushing on is one of the most challenging parts. Once I'm up to my nose in the revision, I am not quite as freaked.
    Thanks for the great comments!

  5. if the epiphany is "hey, this button controls the tv and dvr!" = good

    if the epiphany is "i smell really bad all the time." = bad

    an epiphany is like news for your brain, sometimes the news is good, meh, or bad.

  6. I get worried when major things need changing and yeah, I do wonder if I can pull off what needs to be done. Thing is though, once you know the re-working and re-writing will make the novel better, I don't think there's a choice but to dig your heels in and start the process.

  7. Too funny, Chris, but true. That's the male perspective right? : )

    Absolutely, J.L.! I think once a writer accepts that the epiphany will improve the novel, there is no choice but to plow ahead. But that initial realization--ugh.

  8. Yes this is tough when this happens--worse when you're just putting the finishing touches on a novel and BLAM out comes a way better twist or eending ot character tie in...and it's back to being unfinished again.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. I hear you! I like epiphanies. They are fun to have but not as much fun after you've already written so much that it changes things. That's just one flavor and two scoops of overwhemling.

    Good luck with it!

    BTW, I gave you a blog award on my blog. :0)

  10. Exactly, Angela! It's the "BLAM" that's killer. Sometimes a novel just refuses to be finished.

    Wow, Christy, really??? A blog award? I'm on my way over to check that out! Happiness! : ) Thank you!!!