Wednesday, June 9, 2010

RTW: How do I know when...

...a project will work out, and when it won't.

To be completely honest, there's a point at which I sort of make my projects work out. It goes something like this:

Step one: Kaitlin has a sparkily idea.
Step two: Sparkily idea blossoms into sparkily premise.
Step three: Kaitlin attempts to turn premise into actual story.
Step four: Kaitlin starts writing.
Step five: Kaitlin gets hopelessly stuck somewhere between 10 and 10,000 words, and has to step away from ms for a few weeks (or sometimes months) to figure out what is wrong.
Step six: Kaitlin figures out the problem. Creates an outline (usually), and continues writing.

Ever since I started writing seriously, if I don't stall out on step two, I don't stall out at all. I stubbornly think through that crazy little idea until it works. It may not closely--or at all--resemble what I started with, but it will work. I will make it.

Because if I haven't gotten blocked up on step two, then the idea feels viable to me, and I get invested. If I can't turn the sparkily idea from step one into a premise in step two, then it wasn't that sparkily to begin with, and I toss it away, never to think of it again.

How about you? To see how other people know when to give up on a project, or to link your own blog, visit YA Highway! Not to mention that we have a giveaway going on at the moment, where you can win some kick ass ARCs straight from BEA, including THE DUFF by YA Highway's own Kody Keplinger, and the much buzzed about MATCHED by Ally Condie. And those are not the only good ones, oh no they are not. So get your little behinds over there and enter. And participate in our Road Trip Wednesday, while you're at it, of course.

11 comments:

Kirsten said...

My steps are the same as yours! And I think I usually quit on an idea pretty early -- between one and three -- but not later. Once I start writing, I'm sunk, haha.

Kristin Miller said...

Definitely. Sometimes I just takes some time and extra thought to work through the wrinkles. I'm with ya, babe.

Sumayyah said...

My steps are kind of like yours -if I can't get an outline written out properly with three acts then I chuck it. If I get the outline done and I can't connect with the characters in the first few pages I let it sit, think about it, rehaul the outline or chuck it completely. :)

Kristin Briana Otts said...

That sounds very much like my process, lol. And usually while I'm outlining one, I end up writing another that has been sitting and waiting for a while.

Kate Hart said...

I have to take think breaks too, although they're usually between drafts. So interesting seeing all the different processes!

Jess said...

"Invested" is such a great word to use for writing. It's much easier to write when you have a stake in the outcome, when you feel like it matters.

"If I can't turn the sparkily idea from step one into a premise in step two, then it wasn't that sparkily to begin with" - What a great perspective.

Emilia Plater said...

Great point about not stalling out at step two! I love your process. :)

Remilda Graystone said...

Your process is great. I wish it could work that way for me too! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Michelle Schusterman said...

You win the Sparkily Award of the Day! :D And I totally agree - sometimes it just takes time to make that thing work.

Abby Stevens said...

I think I am almost at the point where I need that break, but I am trying to get everything up to snuff enough to send out to another round of betas.

Thoughtful post!

Leila Austin said...

"It may not closely--or at all--resemble what I started with, but it will work. I will make it."

I especially love this line. It pretty much sums up my writing process perfectly.