Friday, August 27, 2010

Where Do I Go From Here?

Did you ever get knee deep in a story and wonder where it was going? Your characters have gotten themselves in a fix—a pickle, if you will—and suddenly, you can't find a way out. Been there. Done that. More times than I can count!

I'm the kind of person who works on more than one project at a time. I have to. I get momentum that propels me along for a space, then I bog down and eventually grind to a halt. Sometimes, I can bull through and finish. Other times.... Well.... Let's just say that I've got nearly as many unfinished projects as I have finished.

I don't know why this happens. I've tried to figure it out for years, but still no clue. It seems that the muse carries me only so far and then flits away, deciding that it's not as imperative to tell that story as it once was.

I'm sitting here at my desk, ignoring the “Unfinished” notebook open in front of me. What that is, is a record of all the stories I've got pending, their chapters, character lists, timelines, etc. From time to time, I finish a story and have myself a little celebration when I move the pages to the “Finished” notebook. Then I sit and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the next project to engage my attention. I go back to the old stories, but there's only so many times I can read through them without getting bored.

Maybe I took a wrong turn and didn't listen to my characters hard enough. Or maybe I'm just lazy and give up with the going gets difficult? Honestly, I don't know. I do try to finish, really I do! I don't start a story with the intention of leaving it and the characters hanging. I find it very frustrating that I can't complete all the projects I have pending. They're good stories, worth telling, but I gave up on them—or maybe they gave up on me?

In the meantime, I'm going to have to get my butt in gear and finish something. I just did a count and I've got 41 unfinished. On the finished side—42 (47 if I include my short stories, so I think I will). Of course, I probably didn't include my unfinished shorts.... But hey, who's counting?

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