2. You Can’t Always Be Your Own Hero

2. You Can’t Always Be Your Own Hero

Luke didn’t blow up that space station on his own. He had Obi-Wan Kenobi jabbering in his ear about the Force, and he had Han Solo shooting out the baddies from behind, clearing the way for Luke to do his Jedi voodoo all over that big bad Death Star.

You need to find your own Obi-Wan Kenobi, someone to whisper supporting thoughts in your ear (maybe not literally, that might get weird). And a Han Solo too, someone objective, someone who isn’t a writer at all, a rogue who doesn’t play by the rules but can point out the problem (and maybe the solution) without all of that writerly mumbo jumbo.

Have a plot problem? Run it by your sister for a change. Can’t get the dialogue right? Have your roommate read it aloud with you. When I finish a story, I give it to a friend who is a writer or editor for advice (my Obi-Wan Kenobi), but I also give it to someone who isn’t, someone who is just a reader, an “Average Joe,” and that’s my Han Solo. They almost always find something that sticks out to them but not to me, and fixing this always improves my second draft, allowing me to blast my way through to a happy ending (complete with a medal ceremony with a princess).

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