WIPS Can be Painful

September 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm 6 comments

It seems today I’m bombarded with the topic of Works in Progress. With questions like how do you split your focus? Which ones get priority? Which ones languish on your computer for years, forgotten and incomplete?

Well, I say those are hard questions, because I don’t consider some of those stories WIPs. The “stories” that languish on my hardrive forgotten are more like scenes or story ideas that come to me and I jot them down. My rule of thumb is that it’s not a WIP if it doesn’t have two pages.

I’m starting to realize I don’t write plots, but characters in dire straights. For me character and plot go hand in hand. One plot may not work for a certain character, because you are not testing them enough, you’re not ripping out that one brick that will make their world crash around them.

So what does this all have to do with my ideas of WIPs. Well, sorry characters lurking in my head, but you just didn’t wow me enough to eek out at least two pages. Which means slaving over a 30k-90k novel will be painful because I really didn’t care about you to begin with. Now there is a difference when a character seemed like a good idea at the time, but that’s a whole other post.

Now to answer the other questions:

How do you split your focus?

Whatever story is speaking the loudest is the one I focus on the most. I might go back and forth if I’m bored, but usually if I’m in the groove I’m writing  like a madwoman.

Which WIP gets priority?

The one that is almost finished or the one that is due, very, very soon.

The last one I’ve already answered, but I have had books that languish and all of sudden the character is clear as day to me.

Go figure.


Entry filed under: inspiration, writing. Tags: , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pam  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I wouldn’t know about splitting WIPs by which one the editor wants first (whine!), but for my other stuff, The Girls tell me which one needs to be written. Once I start, I seem to be able to finish it, be it the first draft, an edit, or just some polishing. Of course, every book changes the process, so it’s all up in the air!

  • 2. Edie  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I work on one at a time too. Not just the one that speaks the loudest, but the one I want to spend the next 3 months with.

  • 3. Melissa Blue  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Pam, your day is coming soon. I know it. I think it was Lani who said, the ones who say no are just making way for the ONE who will say yes.

    Of course, every book changes the process, so it’s all up in the air!

    I know the feeling. Next week, I just may open up one of the those forgotten “wip” and go, “And why didn’t I ever write this?”

  • 4. Melissa Blue  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Edie, I envy you. I never think about that. I go with the characters that won’t shut up. I know it’s a bad idea, because if they don’t shut up when I’m not writing them, then how do I expect them to act when I let the floodgates open?

    Stay level-headed dear, ’cause it’s not fun if you are the weird one when you are in a group of writers.

  • 5. SLC Slave Driver  |  September 18, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Mine depends on what music I’m currently listening to or which one is making me sweat the most. So, it swings many directions.

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  September 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    So, it swings many directions.

    Whatever works is my theory. I sometimes play upbeat music to get me in the mood of writing. Usuually it’s on to drown out the internal editor.

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