Thursday, 2 February 2012
Are WIP's Like Shoes?
Never mind, files are made and stored on my hard drive for future reference and that next story - but at the same time I'm aware I have too many ideas flying around in my head and not nearly enough time to write a well rounded story out of each one.
Then there is that elusive thing called a muse, which decides to abandon me at the precise moment I reach an intricate part of the plot that needs total concentration. The more I focus, the harder it becomes to formulate a coherent sentence, let alone explain the reasons behind a character's actions in a succinct, fascinating way. My only way round that one is to put the manuscript away and come back to it later - maybe weeks later - and in the meantime, I cannot resist dipping into another half-written story and am immediately captivated by the chance of improving the narrative.
Logic tells me that although it may take considerably longer, the end result should be four or five completed novels ready to go. Not so - these manuscripts all fall into the, 'almost finished if I could work out the ending' category, to the 'I'm seventy five percent through, but not sure where the story is going'.
I also have one 'outlned' with a fully laid out story, character profiles, the political background of the era, every scene summarised with an aim, conflict and action. When I began, the passion for the story was incredibly strong - so why have I only written one chapter so far? Is it because my subconscious, neat and tidy mind says I must finish my two incomplete ones first - or will my great new idea be 'the one', so I cannot ignore it.
So how many WIPs is too many? And is having too many ideas on the go better than not being able to come up with one at all? Is it better to have a plotted outline, or is being a pantser better as the story can evolve as it goes along?
Or are WIP's like shoes, and there is always a better pair in the next shop?