Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday - Wish I had some

It's Wednesday again! Oh goodie!!And that means it's time to report on my progress! *Big fake smile and over-the-top enthusiasm* Yea!!!

*Smile disappears* Oh, who am I kidding. My work in progress has stalled.

After further research and thought I've realized that my story suffers from Same-a-situs. Which basically means it's too much like a bunch of other ideas out there. It's too much the same. And this story is my baby, so when it came down with the dread Same-a-situs disease it has made me very sad. (Yes, just like that super-cute puppy above.)

So the rough draft is on pause and I have to do some serious brainstorming. Holly Lisle has some great exercises for shaking your Muse up and thinking outside the box, but they require at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. And uninterrupted time around here has been as rare as a happy banker these days. What with company, the 4th of July, staying up too late, my daughter having a nasty accident involving her fingers and a treadmill (I have pics but I don't know that I'll post them), and the tragic death of a good friend's husband Sunday.

If any of you are in stall-mode with your projects, you might want to try one of these exercises (assuming you can find 10 minutes). These are from Holly Lisle's Create-A-Plot Clinic:

  1. Do some timed freewriting. Don't limit yourself to your story. Just vomit out whatever flits through your brain and see if your Muse will make some connections when given free rein.
  2. List words/phrases that resonate with you, that cause some sort of emotion. For me, I could use "trapped in a sleeping bag" because that would actually terrify me. Not being able to move freaks me out. I could also use "sunrise" because that is a magical time of day for me. Then take one of your words/phrases and brainstorm how you could fit that word (with the emotion) in your story. You might come up with some great scenes.
  3. Play tennis with your muse, where you ask a question or make a statement about where your story is stalled and your muse's only job is to disagree with you. Then you go back and forth and see what comes out.
  4. Make a word list of things from your story - characters, setting, conflict, etc. Randomly choose one of those words (pick from a hat or close your eyes and point). Freewrite for 3 minutes on that word. When time is up immediately randomly choose another word and write on it for 3 minutes. Repeat and see if you can find a direction or how to fix your stalled story.
  5. Go for a run or eat some chocolate (for those who like chocolate).

There are many other good ideas. How about things that have worked for you when you've been stalled? Hopefully I'll be able to jump start my story and get moving again.


Kimberly said...

I just got myself out of a month long stall by playing around on Project Playlist and and finding some new, lyric heavy music. Found some artists whose lyrics really get the ole wheels turning again and suddenly I'm seeing things in new ways. But more importantly, I'm writing again and I feel like me again.

ElanaJ said...

Oh, I like the tennis one. That one is too real to me. I'm totally going to try that. I hope your real life settles down a bit. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

This is just what I needed. Thank you, Jaime!
(I'm so sorry about the busy days and the loss of your friend's husband. My sympathies and heart go out to all of you.)

Noble M Standing said...

Sorry about everything thats stalling you and being tragic for your family. I hope things get better soon.

On a diferent note, dont you hate it when you come up with an awesome story and you find its been taken. We don't watch TV and it really irks me when I will tell someone an idea and they go "Yeahg its like...." AARGH. I'm so sorry and hope you can either twis the story or do something with it that nakes it more unique.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Aww, that picture of the puppy is too cute! Sorry, you are having a hard time finding the time to write - it sounds like life is a little crazy. My first novel actually suffered from not being quite different enough from the crowd and I ended up trunking it, hope you can save yours from a similar fate!