Friday, October 23, 2009

Idea Storm

Last night, driving home, listening to satellite radio, and pretty much minding my own business. Okay, perhaps my mind was drifting here, there, and everywhere . . . but I was still paying attention to my driving.

Then . . .


No, I didn't hit, nor was I hit by another car. I was hit by . . .

. . . an idea storm!

I blame it on all on Lady Glamis and her post over at The Literary Lab yesterday about this roller coaster's going to kill me. Go on, click on over, read the post, and then hop back here . . . otherwise, you're going to be totally lost. : )

So, as normal, her post started my brain cells to synapse . . . like crazy. Mostly, it was in the back of my mind throughout the day as I worked in the diamond mind along Crazy, one of the newest additions to the Dwarf Clan. Okay, she's only Mildly Crazy, but still . . . Then, on the way home, everything kicked into gear.

I began to think of ways to experiment with my writing. I love a good old, crazy experiment, that really challenges me and tests my limits as a writer. Bring. It. On. Baby!


So, there's this manuscript I completed a few years ago, you know, the one with three different endings because I couldn't decide who I wanted the main character to end up with? Yeah, that one.

My thoughts where . . . how can I change this up and make it work better. Then, the ideas began to flow. No, I'm not going to share right now . . . well, at least not everything.

Here are the possibilities . . .
  • Focus the story from the perspective of Character B, rather than have three perspectives. Begin the book with ultimate confrontation that currently happens toward the middle of the book. Explore the consequences of Character B's actions, along with developing friendship with confronter, and also deal with confronter's spiraling emotions as she deals with the impact of what has happened in her life.
  • Refocus the story based on a single perspective only using Character A.
  • Refocus the story based on a single perspective only using Character C. Oh, wait, Character C isn't really that sympathetic. Is a story with an unsympathetic character truly possible?
  • Refocus the story based on a single perspective only using Character D, who was truly only a peripheral character, but is much more sympathetic than Character C.
  • Then, the grand finale of an idea . . . well, I'm keeping that one to myself. Sorry.

Basically, my mind took a good look at what I'd written and wasn't happy, not at all, not at all. This is part of the process of being a writer. We have to be able to recognize our own brilliance, and, we have to be able to recognize the cubic zirconias in our midst as well. Not everything I (we) write is going to be brilliant, not matter how much I (we) think it is brilliant, stunning, the best thing ever . . .

Every writer, at some point in their lives, writes a piece or two of . . . doody!! Big Doody! It happens. We move on. We do not - I repeat - we do not give up because we wrote one piece of doody, no matter how big.

Lady Glamis came to that realization and wrote about it here. She also made a very inspiring comment . . .

I think we reach a threshold, though- a place where we can see our work clearly, a place where we can make sure the writing doesn't interfere with the story

Truer words, at least at this point in my life, haven't been written. These words are gold.

If something isn't working, then we need to recognize it. Sometimes, we just set the manuscript aside forever. Other times, we look at the words we have written, the characters we have created, and we hope for an idea storm that will replace the cubic zirconia with an actual diamond.

As easy as it is to give up in life, I really think, as writers, we need to keep writing. Writing is not easy. Writing takes time and effort. We have to balance our desire to write, with the fact that we must venture forth into the diamond mines with Sleepy, Grumpy, Menopausal (oh, that was a bad three years of my life working with Menopausal - very bad), and all the other Dwarves out there that are an integral part of our life because we have bills to pay.

We can do all of it. Balance does exist. Faith in our abilities exists as well.

So, next time you read something you wrote and think geesh, this is doody, well . . . you're probably right. So set the doody aside and move on to something else. Don't foget about the doody, because there might still be some promise within the words you wrote. There might be a character that might spring to life in another novel.

Write, for it is a gift we have been given.



Angie Ledbetter said...

Great food for thought. Keep writing!

WindyA said...

That's great! I get these thoughts while driving too. Or in the shower. Or grocery shopping. Or at any random place that does not allow me to be able to immediately begin scribbling down ideas. Then I have to try to keep repeating them all to myself.

So YAY for you!

Lady Glamis said...

Beautiful! I'm going through a lot of writing change at the moment, and it's so important to learn that what we've written can always be better. And more importantly, when that writing just needs to be set aside or sent out on query. Tough choices and things to learn!

Scott said...

Angie - thanks!

WindyA - I do the whole repeating to myself thing . . . all the time.

Lady Glamis - Thanks. Life is full of tough choices. I think we've entered the "I Want It NOW!" generation . . . and that's not a good thing. Patience is the key to success . . . not sending off something just because a person has a burning desire to be published. : ) Not that you or I would ever do something like that!