First, for all of you have been calling and emailing today asking whether I’ll be going to Haiti for search and rescue efforts, the answer is no…for now. Rest assured, there are teams on the way. It just wasn’t our assignment this time. Still, the people of Haiti –and those providing aid — could use your prayers tonight.
Now to writing. In an effort to come up with more things to blog about <g> I’ll be posting a tip of the day once per week, usually on Tuesday. Other days of the week will be dedicated to other weekly topics. To kick it off my tip of the day is: Don’t let the magic escape. Yes, I know it’s Wednesday, not Tuesday. Get over it.
Don’t Let the Magic Escape
New story ideas hold magic for writers. They are bright shiny balloons full of so much possibility. New ideas can hold a writer in thrall for hours, days…years before they start writing. When you have one of these ideas, be careful not to let the magic escape. Sometimes we want to talk about our great new idea. We tell all our friends about it. We blog about it. We start a special notebook to jot down pre-writing details or snippets of dialogue that will be a part of it. We practice our editor/agent pitch before we’ve written a word of the book, just to see how it will go over.
Keep picturing that hot new story idea as a bright shiny balloon. Every time you talk about it, blog about it, pitch it, journal about it without actually WRITING THE BOOK a little of the magic escapes, like a little bit of air from the balloon. Go too long talking without writing and eventually the idea is rumpled piece of mylar on the kitchen floor being batted by the cats and dragged around by the dog.
Some writers need to let an idea germinate in their subconsciouses for a while before beginning to write. I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m not saying you can’t capture a snippet of dialogue before you forget it. I’m saying don’t tell your family, friends, co-workers and 10 taxi drivers every detail before you put a word to paper. Save that enthusiasm, that excitement, for the page. Like the air inside the balloon, the magic of a new story creates a pressure in you. A need to get it out. Use that pressure to drive you to the computer to write. Not to gab.
Don’t let the magic escape before your great book is a book at all.
That’s my tip ‘o the day!