Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cheating on your WIP

I don't know about other writers out there (perhaps I should do a poll) but sometimes I feel like I'm cheating on my work in progress.

It goes like this:

I begin with an idea. Its a fun idea, an exciting idea, an idea that makes me smile, that makes my heart go thump. I love the idea, so much, that I commit.

I sit down with the idea, and plan. I improve the idea, I try turning it into something more. A story.

I commit further, actually putting time in, and writing an opening scene. By now, i'm in love. I think I've never had a better idea.

So I write another scene and another. But sooner or later, somewhere down the road, I lose that obsession. I still love the idea, but not with a burning passion. I'm aware of its flaws by now. Its no longer this shining ideal of a thing I place on a pedestal at the beginning of the process.

I keep working at it, plugging along. I love it, but I'm not In Love with it.

And then another idea comes along. And this one, well, it really is the ideal I think it is--I'm sure of it. So I cheat. I don't abandon my first idea. I still work with it, advancing the story, continuing to commit to it with every new scene.

But--I have a story on the side. One I'm In Love with--at least for the time being.

This happens over and over until...I end up where I am right now, working on 4 stories actively, and have one story set aside for the time being.

I do think that its helpful to me, to have several stories going at once. It gives me a break when necessary. And lets face it--thinking of your story as a shining ideal when you first write it is a bad choice. Because it's going to need lots or rewriting and edits before it shines. That's the nature of writing, and having multiple projects allows me to give the WIP the time it needs to sit, so I can look at it objectively.

Does anyone else cheat on their WIPs?
Does it help or hinder your story telling?

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