when do you just have to let it go?
Everyone knows nothing’s perfect after the first draft.
But how many drafts are you supposed to write? Where is that fine line between honing a work and polishing a turd? When do you accept something as a failure–nay, a learning experience?
I think the answer is when it is holding you back.
Perhaps you’re too focused on that one piece that you’re neglecting to think of others. What you imagined was your opus is now your albatross. Something a colleague once said to me in the editing room, “You just have to let it go, man.”
Let it go.*
Sounds easy, sure. But, wow. It’s not.
Continue reading “Reworking a Draft”
What do you do when your usual writing techniques and traditions stop working?
First: get rid of the idea that you need the Muse. The Muse is like that friend who always replies that they’re coming to your event and *maybe* shows up at one of them, late and already a little buzzed. If we waited for the Muse every time we sat down to write, nothing would get done. Continue reading “Breaking Down the Writer’s Block”
I keep tiny notebooks of log-lines. These are brief kernels – nay, seeds – of a story. This something I picked up from film: the need to pitch a story in a single phrase. It has been an invaluable trick not just for getting to the heart of an otherwise complicated story, but for brainstorming writing prompts. Continue reading “On Keeping a Log-Line Book”
So a while ago I started posting chapters of a genre mash-up, satirical novel online before I panicked and took them down after realizing that they (a) weren’t at the calibre I could achieve, and (b) were not going to be produced as expediently as I hoped.
I’ve since been working on it again.
I decided to shift the tone of the book (first in a series maybe?) when I stepped back and started examining what sort of genre satires and parodies I enjoyed myself. And I realized that I preferred riffs on genre that don’t make fun of the genre in as much as they exemplify it. Continue reading “Triangulating the Text”
After extensive note-taking and a few false starts, just over two months ago, I actually sat down and starting writing that young adult subterranean fiction piece I first thought of more than half my life ago. (it is now best described as *bracing myself* a dystopian YA novel-meets-Jane Austen.)
I’ve learned through this project the importance of persistence.
I learned how to effectively deal with something that’s not working. Rather than just giving up or sitting around waiting for it to get better I learned to change my approach.
I started writing this story just for fun, just to write and see what happens. Continue reading “The Importance of Just Getting it Done”
Each writer has a different approach to rules. For some, they’re made to be broken, others they are mere guidelines, and even others, they are cliches to be avoided like the plague (guess which one I’m not).
Anyway, advice in general is like excerpts from the bible: people cherrypick what works for them and ignore the rest.
But when you get stuck, you never know what it is that might help get you unstuck. So it’s good to have something to go to. Who knows? Therein may lie your answer.
Continue reading “Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling”
Momentum, like Mr. Darcy’s good opinion, once lost is lost forever.
Or so it seems.
Something like a particularly nasty cold that lasts a week (especially when it is followed by Husband spending the whole next week sick with said cold) can wreak havoc on my momentum.
Like coming back from vacation, or from an illness, or from a mental rabbit hole of writing on one project, returning to the status quo is difficult. You feel like the Campbellian hero, returning to find the world the same but himself drastically different.
Continue reading “The Granny Square Approach”