Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pay Attention To Your Baby

No, this isn't actually about babies - although if you have one, DO pay attention - this about your writing. This isn't even about your current work-in-progress. It's your writing, that all encompassing word that includes syntax, plot, diction, character development, backstory, the whole deal.

See, I'd forgotten about its existence.

When I started on my most recent work in progress, I had a vague, shadowy idea. It was awesome, and it was doomed. Now I have 99,000 words of pretty and pointless, because it isn't going anywhere - despite the awesome efforts of my crit partner/beta reader Lauren. I have the overarching plot (sort of) and I have several scenes that I'll be able to keep. Probably about 60,000 words worth.

So now I'm faced with a decision. Do I let this one rest awhile? Come back to it in a few months, or after my next story? Or do I just start over at the beginning, take a deep breath, and put the pencil down to paper?

I think the real answer here is neither. I need to read some writing books, I need to read some fiction. I need to remember a story arc, and I need to work on my characterization.

A break from writing a novel? Maybe. A break from writing? Definitely not.

What about you? Have you ever had a story that you've had to scratch?



Lauren W. said...

Ah! What? There is so much great stuff in your WIP. I can't imagine cutting this one up in pieces because from what I've read so far it was so fleshed out and promising. I totally understand if you feel like the story arc isn't complete yet, but you have so much there! Just take a break from it and maybe the distance will spark some solution. I really, REALLY enjoyed reading it so far, it shouldn't be recycled just yet! Let's chat about via email. I would love to try to help you out.

Carrie Butler said...

...That baby is freaking me out. I feel like it's staring into my soul or something. O_O

Anyway, great post! I never completely scratch a story. Elements of it live on, even if I have to find other ways to make them work. It's kind of like trying to force a puzzle piece in, only to realize it's upside down. It's all about finding the perfect fit. ;) Good luck!

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm planning to scratch much of my first novel (though not delete it forever, since I hate deleting things). Right now, I'm in a similar boat as you--I've been reading books on writing and trying to improve how I write, before plunging back into another attempt at rewrites of the story.

Lynda R Young said...

Yep, I have a few scracthed stories, some long, some short.The long ones hurt the most. I think that's why I started outlining. I get to see if the plot works or not before I pour my time and effort into it.

Talli Roland said...

LOL on Carrie's comment about the baby, because I feel the same!

I've had a few projects that have just run out of steam. I wanted to be able to keep writing them, but the story fizzled.

JeffO said...

I have had a lot of things started and not finished. I won't say they're 'scratched' because I want to come back to them at some point, but they're scratched because I just don't have whatever it is in my head that I need to take these stories all the way home, if you know what I mean. And I have something else that works better.

That is one serious baby.

Missed Periods said...

Taking a break and reading sounds like a great idea. Sometimes when I'm writing, I feel like I can't read because I want to stay focused on my process, but sometimes it's so helpful to get out of my head and explore another.