It only took the first few pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to free my mind and inspire me to rewrite my novel from the beginning. Steig’s prose is uncluttered. It moves the story forward while providing enough detail for me to get a sense of the place and the people. In contrast, my prose started out overburdened and eventually evolved into completely overwrought as I attempted to find both the voice and the tone of the piece. For the past several months I’ve struggled between letting the piece go and starting over or trying to rework what I had. I’ve also considered throwing the whole thing in the little Trash icon on my MacBook. Stieg helped me make a decision: I started over.
Last night I wrote almost a thousand words without pause. That’s how writing should feel.
A quick aside: After I finished Stieg’s novel, I picked up another novel that shall remain nameless. The second novel was a study in unrelenting, irrelevant, driveling detail. I put the book down in frustration after 25 pages. That marks only the 4th book I’ve ever set aside. I’ve learned my lesson.