Friday, January 15, 2010

Endurance, Endurance...Endurance

One of the hardest things to do is start with the kernel of an idea. Many times when you're starting a project, you can't seem to narrow down all the great ideas you have swirling around inside your "noodle". Since time doesn't stand still in a vacuum, and you can't really sale something that hasn't been written (unless you're a "big name") that means going with your gut and the marketability of the project.




Then you start out, generally one of two ways. Slowly cause you still have that little niggling voice that maybe you shouldn't be doing this story, or you come out with fingers flying in a rush to get down every details while it's fresh. Either way, get something on the page. Only by pouring out what's on your mind, and building your characters can you truly know if you're going in the right direction. If you're still floundering by chapter 3 then you need to stop an evaluate. Many times, that's when writers really know what their purpose for the book is, and have to dump the first and sometimes second chapters. And if you're a newbie, don't worry even veterans have troubles too!


You can save yourself some backstory trouble by doing the character bios and GMC charts, but in the end knowing too much can also get you into trouble. How can you tell? By writing...a lot! The more you write, the better you know how your mind naturally assess plot points, characters and deals with stressors (say that deadline in 3 months). Writing, even if it's for a practice scene, or re-writes can sync you with your voice...that mythical thing every writer these days better have to sell.



Sometimes we just can't get going, sometimes we lack that spark, especially when we have a family, a full time job, or other must-dos. Which means a writer has to use all their writing time to its fullest. Maybe it's 30 minutes while you're waiting to pick your kids up from school, a lunch hour, or some stolen moments you've set aside due to being the family scheduler. Whether you feel like it or not, get your mind in writing gear, your fingers moving, and even if you're not working on a project...write like you don't have a choice! Not only will it give you a "get out of jail free"card in those I should've/could've/would've times, but it also lets you see where you need work and how you can endure when the going gets tough.


Say just after the halfway mark, when those ideas that plagued you at the beginning come back to play with your sub-conscious and characters start talking to you in the shower. That's when you need to batten down the hatches, and focus like an Olympian. Use your own arsenal...an award for your writing, a picture that looks like a character, or an e-mail reminder to keep you on track. You can't finish the @*&% book if you don't press on through the hard times. Sure we all get stuck, and usually have to evaluate if a component really works, but knowing those triggers that can get you back on course (due to experience) can be your saving grace!







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