Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

The folks at YA Highway are taking their weekly roadtrip. Authors with blogs answer the question and all the other authors can jump from site to site to see the responses.

This week's question: How do you know when a project will work?

Well, define work. I feel strongly that perseverance makes a huge difference when it comes to doing anything. I am sure everyone is familiar with Edison's quote that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Did you know that when he was trying to figure out what should act as the filament in the traditional incandescent light bulb he tried EVERYTHING to see if it would work. He tried cheese. He tried peanut butter. Though it might be nice to have bulbs filling our houses with the smells of warm cheese (not so much) or toasty peanuts (a little better), he eventually settled on the carbon filament.

I feel that a project works when I make it work. Not to say I don't run into brick walls on occasion. I have two projects going right now, but continue to have ideas about other work. I keep a running list of future projects. For the projects I am working on right now, I just keep chipping away, reminding myself that it doesn't need to be perfect. That I don't have to falter over every sentence right now. First I have to get it all down, then I have to make sure it flows, and then I go through edit after edit until the product is 'finished'. And then I edit a few more times.

For my current projects, I also select the scenes I want to do first. Maybe a necessary scene with some exposition feels like drudgery, but a scene with a romantic twist is more fun. Just like with my regular job, I chip away at the things I am in the mood for at a given time, and hope that I will be in the mood for the other things some time soon. When I am working on a scene that I am really excited about, which is most of the time, I feel like it just flows. That the words take off on the page almost faster than I can write them down. When that happens, I know a project is working.

7 comments:

  1. I love that quote: it's exactly what I needed to hear. I always wish that genius was more 99% inspiration and 1% perspiration... but the joy is in the journey, right?

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  2. EDISON QUOTE! *bows* I am not worthy.

    Did he really use cheese and peanut butter? ...Le damne.

    Great post!

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  3. Last book I wrote in order, no skipping, but this one is coming to me in random scenes. "Chipping away" is a good description.

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  4. I used to feel bad about not writing in order--like I was a loser writer if I couldn't write my story start-to-finish. But now I know that 1. I'm not the only one who writes that way, and 2. That's what works best for me. I totally agree that writing what you feel like makes the writing flow better!

    Great post!

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  5. Great post! It's so exciting when the story starts to flow like that - it means something big is coming. :)

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  6. It works when I make it work <---LOVE that. Great advice.

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  7. Very good point.

    So much of finishing things is basically about persevering with them until they're done. And yeah. I constantly have to remind myself not to worry about whether things are perfect yet. Especially when I'm writing first drafts.

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