December 28, 2012

Casual Friday: Is it Mandatory to Love Every Project?

Good Morning Misfiteers!

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind me, I started thinking about two half-written projects I’d abandoned amid shopping and wrapping and menu-planning. They’re both contemporary romances, and one has really gotten the creative juices flowing and reminded me why I love writing these types of stories. The other?

Not so much.

I can’t explain it. When I wrote my last two ms’s, I was madly in love with them. The characters “spoke” to me at all hours of the day and night. Scenes would pop into my head at random intervals, plot holes would fill in I’d have to run to the computer to get them down NOW. With this project it just… wasn’t happening.

I hatched the idea way back in June, when I took a trip to Mexico. And what’s not to love about a high-drama, angsty romance set at a gorgeous beach paradise? Nothing, right?

And yet, I couldn’t get into writing it. The plot seemed decidedly un-me. The romance felt forced (for real, how can romance feel forced between people you made up in your head and are therefore obligated to interact as you deem fit??). I found myself making excuses NOT to write.

Then, while my husband and I were in Georgia (because apparently, inspiration strikes when I travel), a new idea popped into my head. Once I’d worked out the basic frame of the plot, I started to write.

And fell in love again.

Within a short period of time, I’d written over 10,000 words, while the story I’d started months earlier was still stuck at the 5K mark.

Structurally, I don’t know what makes this story different from the other, but I can tell you one big difference is that I’m *enjoying* writing this one. So does that mean that I think this story is better than my abandoned Mexican Resort story?

Not necessarily.

That’s the strange part. I still think my other story is a perfectly marketable, perfectly workable idea. I think I can figure out what’s bugging me, and fix it. It’ll take some effort, and probably some verbal slapping from my CP’s, but when I’m done writing this story that’s stolen my heart, I’m going to give the other another chance. If I think about it in terms of relationships, as a romance writer is wont to do, it makes sense – some hit the ground running, while others develop over time. The means doesn’t make the end any less of a success…


Am I crazy, or have any of you powered through a project you weren’t in love with? Did you fall in love eventually? And even if you didn’t, were you glad you stuck with it?


Sarah L. Blair said...

I'm so glad you mentioned this! I've got a project idea I've shared with a few of my CPs who basically said YESSS YOU MUST WRITE THIS NOW! But whenever I sit down to work on it I just feel... meh. It's a great idea (if I might say so myself) very marketable, very fun, but I just can't get excited about writing it.

Yael said...

Personally, I can't commit to a project unless I'm in love with it. I tried to write a novel I only moderately cared about during NaNo, and I gave up after one day. Whereas my other project has been on the burner for almost ten years, and even though it's full of holes and probably unpublishable, I love working on it and thinking about it.

Jae said...

I think it's natural when you're entering new territories. I felt a little that way when I was writing some short stories. I hadn't really written any, at least not for a long while. Plus a part of me really wanted to work on the WIP novel that I'd put in the deep freeze to let it get cold for a fresh pair of eyes for editing. But I found sometimes I just needed to sit down and write and soon enough I was in the zone.

But I agree with Yael to an extent, if you push yourself to write but the passion still isn't there, then it's not the right time. I have a bunch of projects hanging out in the netherworld waiting for their turn. Never hurts to have a few extra hanging out in there as a writer, right?

Anonymous said...

I've dealt with something similar. I had one novel that I absolutely loved but couldn't write. I felt like I was trying to force the whole thing. It didn't help that I was writing social characters when I was decidedly unsocial. I tried writing it for NaNo 2008, and I only got about 10k into it before I quit. I tried it again the next year and got about 2k in before I quit.

I didn't know what was wrong. I loved the story, but I couldn't write it. Then this year, four years after I started writing it the first time, something clicked. I wrote the first half for Camp NaNo, got distracted with work, and then wrote the other half in two days during this year's NaNo. I think I just had to wait until the right time.

I'm glad I kept trying to write it, as I ended up with some good material that I included in the final draft, but I'm also glad I didn't force myself to finish it, as I was able to include more things this time that I wouldn't have thought to include back then. I think you should keep trying just to see if THIS is the time that it's going to work, but don't worry if it doesn't work yet.

LindaBudz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LindaBudz said...

Every ms I've ever worked on has been very much love/hate on any given day.

Maybe try this project with different MCs? or a different POV? or maybe some super experimental style, e.g., told all through postcards or something? Might inspire you. Just a thought!

Nathan and Aimee said...

Sometimes *just finishing* makes all the difference. I don't write much (yet), but I do sketch, paint, and crochet. I can look at something halfway through and be so disheartened/stuck/ready-to-quit, but the details that go into completing a project are often the ones that turn it into what it should be. When I go into it with the frame of mind "This is WORK" instead of "This should be fun/easy" sometimes I do better too. It can be a struggle to produce a work of art, but other times it flows out so easily. Who knows which way produces the better art? I paint small watercolors for myself because they fall out of my fingertips-it's fun and it FEELS good. I painted a detailed mural once (very large scale is out of my comfort zone)-- not as much fun, but all the work was definitely worth it. I'm always glad to have a finished product instead of an abandoned project with potential hanging over it. If the idea sucks, sure I'll let it go. But if it's a great idea, even if I have to work harder, I try to finish.(It doesn't always happen that way, but I try) I wish I knew why some things are easier to create. Some projects are more familiar or comfortable than others (and are therefore easier), but sometimes I think it's more about how it feels than how it actually is. If it doesn't feel right, I usually either a)power through b)take a break and come back with fresh eyes or c) get a fresh sheet and take it a different direction. -aimee

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