Every single time I see, hear or write the acronym WIP, my naughty mind takes me into one of my stories. Shame on me… LOL
What we are really talking about today is when should your work in progress live in the annals of history.
(I know; I just can’t help myself…)
When I converse with people and tell them I have written over thirty novels they just look at me with a blank stare. Truth told I am not sure how many there are, more than thirty. Much like my first painting, I cannot tell you how many I have created and where they all are. I have sent many to people in countries who like what I do.
Like a painting, when a story is not working, what do you do?
I know many of you who will read this and disagree with me, but…let it age, or let it die.
Shitty First Draft or SFD
Folks, much like an underpainting, you have to get the SFD completed first. The SFD is the bones or frame of your story. It is indeed the foundation, and without it, you are nowhere. I hold myself out as a pantster. I write stream of conscious. Much like this blog today, I am not creating it from some whiteboard full of talking points; I am in fact having a one-way conversation with you, my loyal followers.
This conversation today was inspired by a lovely young woman who I met this weekend. She was discouraged by some toxic mean B!
I, as an unbiased sounding board, listened to her story idea and tried to figure out why some ‘mean B’ would shoot her down like that.
This person has been working on her story for fourteen years.
I worked on Under Roswell on and off for four years. I did not, however, work on it with the alacrity that I work on my current projects.
Firstly my friends, never just shut someone down unless you know them very well, and know that they will accept your advice as heartfelt and not some attempt to boost your own ego.
Writers, I would not share your WIP for critique until your SFD is finished. The story, characters, and world are yours. If you seek input from others, your story, is no longer just yours, is it?
This is a double-edged sword. Many times you can get stuck, and it comes to this elaborate flow chart. Through one end of the flow chart, you have a novel that goes off to the publisher, the other is the toilet. (keeping the SFD metaphor.)
What I am telling you is add a third option, that being a dark closet where it can take on a life of its own. I find when I am not thinking about it, and doing something, usually art; the characters come out and want to play all of a sudden.
It has a lot to do with Theta waves and the way our brains work, but, here is the biggie. Don’t stop writing while your characters are off copulating or chasing unicorns. Let it rest and start another.
I currently have a half dozen wips… (lol, so naughty,) and what am I doing?
Instead of pulling them out of the sandpit on some forsaken planet, I am offering sage advice to you!
If the wips don’t hit their intended target… (damn I am wicked) and they grow stale; they just might die a silent tragic death.
If you want to scare your characters into behaving, hit file save, close, and then new.
The path, overgrown with brambles tugged at my skirt as I passed by. The wind blew the brightly colored leaves which reminded me that a storm over the horizon was not far off. The warm weather of summer was all but gone as the nettles once again snagged at my stockings. I just bought those, and now they were surely ruined.
Steve deliberately brought me out here, thinking I would give in to his depraved ideas. Mother didn’t raise me that way.
Crows called out overhead as small creatures scurried into the tall brush beside me. I knew that the abandoned house was down this path, and Steve knew it too. Forcing me to deal with the monsters that were fabled to live in the area, vs being his Friday night girl, left me stranded and in trouble. The missing button on my blouse was a constant reminder that my brother would be pressed into service if I survived the night. Jake loved his little sister, and I could always count on him.
The thought of Steve looking like the RCA dog with a large black spot over his chubby face made the night a little more bearable.
I would rather face the monsters I didn’t know than acquiesce to Steve’s evil idea of fun.
The wind blew my skirt in front of me, as more leaves chased each other down the path that I was destined to take. Thunder in the distance echoed off the lake to my left, and from some distant object in front of me, as if to reply.
“Shit, what was I thinking? Mother told me about him, and I hate the way she controls my life. Now here I am out in the country with no cell service, an hour of daylight left, in high heels on a dirt road.” Will the others from the dance see that I was missing and know where to find me?
The sound of his Mustang in the distance roared past the place where I was standing. I heard it make the curve, heading down the mountain road away from the lodge, the lake, and me.
The Halloween party to end all parties was back at the lodge up the mountain road. Would I be missed?
Ok my lovelies, I just made this up in less than five minutes. That is a prologue, hook, or tease, take your choice.
- Have you read my novels?
- Will this become a dead WIP or will it breed in the recesses of my mind as I think about what lies ahead on the path?
- Did you feel the cold air from the front approaching?
- Did you get a sense of her anxiety and shame?
- What do you think she looks like?
- Who is this Steve?
- Is he setting her up?
- Are there really monsters in that old house?
- What does Jake look like and what do we think he will do?
To finish my thoughts on WIP or RIP… don’t stop writing. If the characters stop playing or you are stuck, put it aside and start again on something new. I actually did that once with ‘One upon a time.’ I always wanted to do that, so I wrote a book about witches and Dragons. Great book!
Hit follow, comment if you like, and tell your friends. I love writers and authors, and I will do my best to assist where I can.
You know where my mind is, right? What does that old house look like? Are there monsters lurking in the woods, waiting for nighttime? Have vampires been done to death? What about shapeshifters or werewolves?
What is our girl’s name do you think? Tiffany perhaps?
Should I write a chapter a week and publish it here on the blog?
Would you all like that?
Much Love -TW