Friday, October 7, 2011

In Writing, Patience Is A Virtue

I have a problem with waiting. I pace the kitchen waiting for cookies to bake. I skip ahead in a book to see if my favorite character makes it. And I know personally that a watched pot never boils, no matter how long and angrily you stare at it.

Boil, darn you!
With my writing I'm no different. As soon as I get a new idea for a story I want to dive right in. No plotting. No planning. Do the characters even have names yet? Ah, who cares? Jim and Biff will do until rewrite. When I was younger I would delightfully give in to these impulses and often end up with craptastic romps. Entertaining, but still utter drivel. I might post an excerpt one day. Maybe.

Now I've grown older as a writer and have come to realize that waiting a bit is good, not only for me, but for my story as well. Letting it simmer for a bit, like a big pot of soup, develops the flavor of the tale, deepens it. You can concentrate your story down from lofty ideas to something truly enjoyable.

No matter how great an idea may seem at its conception, take the time to think it through. Get to know your characters; flesh them out. Know your setting. Play with plot ideas. The time you spend with your new idea could be the difference between a story not worthy of seeing the light of day and a true gem.

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