Saturday, November 20, 2010

Challenges

Due to various circumstances, including the fact that this was week from Hades for almost everyone of us, we -- but mostly I -- failed to line up a guest.

So... I thought I'd make y'all work for it. So to put it.

If you're being good boys and girls and doing your shorts -- I confess I've only done one in about a month, but I have to do one tomorrow anyway, probably at the laundromat (I have mentioned all my appliances have been failing serially, right? If not, well, they have.)or even if you're not, you probably need some ... okay, a kick in the behind.

I've been reading this book called The Writers Idea workshop by Jack Heffron and marking pages I find interesting, such as the following questions from page 13. The purpose of the book is to work with you in deepening your ideas. Right now, it looks like it might helps. So, here are some questions to ponder.

1 -Do you have an idea you've been noodling in your mind for a while? What aspect of the idea keeps it so alive?

2 - Are you holding yourself back from developing an idea into a draft by doubting its worth or your own abilities as a writer?

3 - Are you continuing to work on a project for fear of letting it go? Why are you afraid?

4 - Do you fritter away some of your writing time by thinking about the fate of a current project, such as whether or not it will be published?

5- Do you find yourself talking about ideas before putting anything on paper, only to find you have talked away your interest in, and energy for, the project itself?

12 comments:

MataPam said...

I'll take door Number Five!

Over outlining, over thinking, over talking. Thinking about the sequel, and the next and where it can go from there.

Every once in awhile I'll pull it out of the file. It's always a shock to see how little ever got down on paper. And how uninteresting the first book seems, when the next will be so much more fun . . .

Ellyll said...

1 -Yep. The characters, but it's developed to where the place and the story are working for me, too.

2 - That would be a yes for my 'abilities'.

3 - Hmm.... Don't think so.

4 - Well... if the entirely circular process of frittering away time thinking about whether it will actually become a full-length book counts... ;) Actually, not so much of that, I'm (relatively) happy to say.

5- * blushes unbecomingly * Thinking about it too much, yes. And sometimes letting it wander from productive thinking into that useless realm of flat-out daydreaming (nice daydream, but bad story).

C Kelsey said...

1. Yeah I have several story ideas that just bounce around in my head. One idea is what if you have a very important secret but it gets outted by someone you trusted?

2. Yes. I've a short that I started and I haven't been continuing it because I doubt I have the skill for such an ambitious project.

3. Nah

4. Not usually, but sometimes.

5. I don't generally talk about my ideas before writing them. When I do though I do find that I can talk my enthusiasm away.

Lin W said...

I have a well-thought-out series, with two books at least rough-drafted. Which I took to critique group (not a great critique group) and ended up redoing chapter one to the point it was ... ick. Then my mom passed away, after a very long illness (I'd spend my time at her bedside writing, while she was sleeping). I couldn't bring myself to touch anything about it, because it brought up very painful emotions and memories.

Now I'd like to get back to it, but the research is scattered in boxes all over the house, garage and basement, and I can't *find* the original (better) versions of the first two books, either electronically *or* on paper.

I have been talking/telling others about the basic story enough that my friends are getting really upset that I'm not writing it.

I am seriously considering taking a week of "search and rescue" through the entire house, finding every scrap, putting them all in the car, and renting one of those little motel cabins up in the mountains (about an hour's drive) for a week to just recapture the "in the moment" that I need to *write* the dang thing.

So, I guess I choose all the doors. Plus a sixth one marked "Doofus is her own worst enemy" :-)

Lin

Synova said...

What is it about appliances anyway? Our washing machine is out too. ARgh!

I've not been writing. I haven't been *playing* either. I started reading category romance to see if I could relax my brain and stir some creative juices and it seems to be working.

1. Yes, all of them. Reference to number 5 - I think that what keeps the ideas alive is that I only have them in non-corporeal form and don't want to lose them.

2. Less so than in the past.

3. See number 1.

4. In the respect of not wanting to waste time, yes.

5. This is a recognized problem for me. I think that too much thinking through or talking about a story is bad, but I don't know how to balance that with having enough development to actually write. I'm fairly certain that the solution is something called a "rough draft" so that all the thinking and talking is in hard-copy rather than the air.

Anonymous said...

I have failed on the short story challenge mainly due to the fact that I am successful with NaNoWriMo so far! I'm only about 800 words behind which is awesome for me. I've never written this many words of anything, not even my Master's thesis.

But to the shorts challenge. I will be picking it back up in full after November. I do have a flash story that I will be expanding. I had written it as flash as an exercise in getting the bones of the story down. Now I will expand it into something more full and pleasant to read.

Linda

Chris L said...

As for the shorts, I've written 3, half-way through another and have ideas for two more.

This is because I have so much 'real work' on right now - plus moving house and preping for a marathon.

When I've got nothing to do in my life, I don't get any ideas, so obviously I thrive on chaos.

As for the questions, yes to all, but there's no time to worry about those now!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Synova, washing machines falling apart. I feel your pain.

MataPam said...

Must be caused by Global Warming. Or over exposure to active imaginations.

I just replace my clothes washer and dishwasher. The clothes washer has no agitator and sounds like the Mother Ship has landed in my laundry room. The Aliens are doing a good job on the clothes, though, so I think I'll keep them.

MataPam said...

I might add, that while some of my ideas never get written, I'm not lacking ideas to write about. Much better, I think, to write the ones you are enthusiastic about.

And not over- thinking/talking /planning if that kills things for you.

Ditto, if you doubt your abilities, but really want to write it, this is an excellent learn opportunity, because you feel so strongly that it need quality writing.

Stop fearing the letting go part. If that's a genuine problem, write shorts and send them out until you lose all fear of rejection slips.

And especially Ditto, if worrying about whether it will ever be published is interfering with writing. Quit it.

And that idea that stays alive in your head? If it refuses to die, perhaps that because it's a good idea. So sit down and write it.

docswordbox said...

Oh goodness, an accounting. umm... urk... ok. NaNo is about seven thousand words behind their target, a frighteningly large number more behind on my own targets, BUT.. I'm almost caught up with the actual paid writing projects that are on the desk, and there is the serial that's been bugging me. As for the short stories, I've got like three at the 1500 word rough draft complete bit, but I really don't like two of them and the time for reworking the third is well, scarce.
Now, for the questions:
1: ideas, loads, really more than I can make sense of. Holding ideas that won't go away, oddly enough I've got three but they're about the same event, just different persepctives, maybe I can work them into one story...? Maybe.

2: Umm.. nope, don't doubt worth, not writing for my worth... just time and LIFE(tm)

3: Nope, again. Time is the villain here. - ohh, new story idea.. Villain is able to work time like playdough, it'll take a while for the protagonist to catch on...

4: Um.. Yeah, I'm guilty of this. I can pull 500 in 15 consistently, IF I actually sit down and write the dang words instead of reading blogs and playing games.. *sigh*

5: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

So the short version is that I'm clearing about 2000 words daily or double that on good days, but as for the actual short stories, they don't pay, the video game guys want their stuff first... so this is what it's like to prioritize and not just write for self-fulfilment. Some of the comments Dave Freer makes make more sense now.

Darwin said...

Well, let's see:

1. Yes. I have several. They all remain viable because I like or am interested in the characters.

2. Yes.

3. No. I could care less once a project is finished. Besides, revision is always a viable tool if you're unhappy with something.

4. Occasionally. I think the writing industry sucks rotten eggs. I think that what I write is in direct philosophical contradiction to the debased mentalities of most of the publishing world. Ergo, I feel that what I write will never get a fair hearing, which is demotivating.

5. No. When I talk about ideas, I realize how boring it is to talk about ideas. The point of writing is to write so that people will enjoy reading what you wrote. Talking a story to death instead of writing it out is wasteful and stupid.