As I write this, I'm listening to a real-life episode of Fixer Upper going on in my basement. Two guys are down there demolishing my shower, which was incorrectly repaired last year (long before I moved in) and can't be fixed any other way. As a Fixer Upper fan, I'm tempted to go down and watch, but the bathroom is so tiny that I'd just be in the way. :)
Sometimes, a piece of writing needs a Demo Day. Despite your best efforts, the piece is just not working the way you thought it would. Maybe there's a huge plot hole that you overlooked initially, or maybe one of your major supports for your argument turns out to be flawed. In one of my screenplays, for example, the main character's motivation just wasn't believable enough. In a different screenplay, important plot points were occurring way too late in the script.
So what do you do?
You have a Writing Demo Day.
You save your current draft. You copy and paste it into a new file. And you take a sledgehammer to it.
I mean it. Be ruthless. Knock out anything that doesn't support the story or argument you're constructing. If it means taking down an entire metaphorical wall, so be it.
When you're done, you'll be left with the essence of what you're really trying to say. Sometimes that's a sufficient foundation to rebuild your piece on. Other times, you'll have to start over from scratch to make sure your
I get it. Writing Demo Day is scary. I've been through it several times on more than one of my screenplays. Your brain is shrieking, "But what if I ruin this?!"
Relax. That's why you save a copy before you start demo-ing. Then you can take big risks with confidence, because--unlike the Fixer Upper team--you won't be doing anything irreversible.
But you've got this. I know you do. So grab your sledgehammer and start whacking away.
P.S. I'd love to be your Writing Demo Day buddy. Click here to book a free discovery call so we can figure out the details!
(Thanks to Jenny Marvin for sharing their work on Unsplash.)