What to Do When You Hit The Writer’s Reality Gap

man standing on an overlook above a deep gorge

When You Lose Perspective

Somewhere in the novel-writing process, you can hit a wall. I call it the reality gap. It’s not writer’s block but something else. You lose perspective on your story. One minute you’ve written a powerful emotional journey for your reader and the next minute it’s the worst drivel written by anyone. 

This big gap in perspective usually happens when you are well into your story, somewhere around the middle, or well into the last act. You disassociate from the story. It feels as though you are high up on a cliff looking down and you’ve lost sight of your vision. You are unable to evaluate your writing. 

Revisit Why You Are Writing 

You are writing a mystery, creating a puzzle for your readers. Mystery readers are not scrutinizing every sentence for the mot juste or intricate syntax. You are not aiming for a great literary masterpiece. You are writing to entertain your readers. 

Stop Comparing

Your favorite mystery author may have a skill that is not yours. Tthey may pull out the feelz or make the antagonist scary. If that’s not your skill, stop comparing. Your readers will love your mystery for your skills.

Go Back Into Your Story

Read your story, so far, as a reader. Two things will happen. You’ll find you enjoy the story. That means it isn’t drivel. And the other is, as you read, you may find places you want to edit. Do those edits. They’ll get you back into reality mode with your story.

You can cross over the gap. 

Keep Writing 

You know how you write, even on the days you don’t feel inspired. Treat the reality gap the same way. Keep going with your story. There’s a long road ahead for evaluation. Your self-edits and revisions, suggestions from your editor, suggestions from beta readers. No one, not even you can evaluate the story until it is finished.

Acknowledge the Process  

Know that every writer experiences the reality gap, losing perspective on the story’s efficacy. It’s part of the creative journey. Don’t ask why or what, just continue on with your writing. Working on your story is the best way to get over the gap.

You Are Part of the Writing World 

Writer’s reality gap is real. But don’t let it stop you writing. It’s part of the process. Dive in with these tips to leap over the gap and continue writing.

Ready to write your mystery? Learn the process from start to finish in Write A Killer Mystery. 

Photo by Andrew H on Unsplash

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