Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Fricassee

Dear hearts!

I know I've already said this, but I'm just so blown away by the level of thoughtfulness and seriousness of intent in the vast majority of the queries I've received for our Query Quagmire.  I'll be spending part of this weekend making my final decisions and getting the posts ready for next Tuesday.  (Please note that there will be no email notifications.  You will know yours was chosen if you see it appear on the blog on Tuesday morning.)

I haven't done a Friday Fricassee in a while, but today felt ripe for one.  Not that I have anything particularly pressing or earth-shattering to say, but simply because this has been a connection point for me (for us!), and I wanted to return to it.

My writing life right now consists of a) waiting for news (isn't this almost always the case?) and b) painstakingly combing through a manuscript while blank-paging it (that is, rewriting word for word in a new document) in order to give it new life and a trimmer figure.  I got all the way up to chapter 28 doing a regular revision, when suddenly I felt stuck.  I also felt a sort of inexplicable hatred for the thing, which didn't make sense, because this is a couple-years-old project that I love and believe in.

So I did what any (in)sane writer would do--I started over.  Scrivener is magical and wondrous to behold--it's simply a matter of splitting the screen horizontally and having the old version in the upper window while typing the new version below.  (My love for Scrivener knows no bounds!)  It's quite a high, flying through those staying-intact passages at my superhero typing speed, but I do have to continually slow myself down and really listen to--taste--feel the words, to make sure I actually want to keep them.  It's actually much easier to slash and kill them this way, and I'm happily watching my word count shrink as the writing becomes (hopefully) tighter and more compelling.

I'm also toying around with an teeny-tiny idea or two for new stories.  Ideas come slowly to me, and I need to let them percolate for a while.  (And one of them came from something quite macabre that I stumbled upon yesterday while searching the net for something completely unrelated.)

I sometimes envy those of you with a huge cache of story ideas waiting to burst forth from your fingers.  I know we can't all be that sort of prolific idea person (and I'm thankful to be an implementer, at any rate, since it means I always finish what I start), but, dang--it would be nice to not have to wait so long and try so hard to get those new story seeds to germinate.

Are you a hundred-ideas-a-person day?  Or do your ideas come sparsely and slowly?  I'd love to get an idea of where I fit into the grand scheme of things among our community here.  Our diversity is part of our beauty, so please do share a bit of yourselves in today's comment box.  I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.  Solidarity keeps us strong!

Have a wonderful weekend--and I'll see you on Tuesday for Query Quagmire!


  1. Sparsely and slowly, but somehow it always works out that I have something in the wings when I'm ready to start it. Like my brain is like, "Nah girl, you aren't ready yet," and holds onto it until I type THE END on something else.

    I've stopped questioning it. Do your thang, brain

  2. Annoyingly, my brain tends to come up with fabulous new ideas when I'm in the middle of working on something else, or on deadline. Luckily it takes time for these ideas to germinate so I usually nurture them along in the back of my head while I finish whatever is pressing. Like now. I'm revising one project, getting another ready for publication and allowing my new story to grow until I am ready to write it. Probably this year's NaNo project, I think...

  3. My brain seems to always think about new ideas, especially when reading someone else's work. It will usually be one word or a phrase that sparks the idea then I have to scribble it down to get it out of my head. Of course the nugget never stays the same but it's a springboard for what it eventually becomes. Crowded places give me ideas too but mainly for characters.

  4. I don't get ideas every day, but I tend to get them fairly frequently. Especially from dreams!

  5. I love your thoughts. It's nice to know someone else is plowing away at these things!

  6. I have found some days the fingers can't keep up with the brain. Other days the eyes keep turning toward the window (or closing). Edison said "genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration." For writers, persistence may be a better word than perspiration. Not quitting has to be the trademark of writers from an idea to rough draft, polishing and the query. Stop anywhere along the way and we deprive ourselves -- and our audience -- of knowing how great a story could be.

  7. I used to be a no-ideas kinda girl, but since finishing my first book-length project, they've been pouring in. I get at least one a week. Some of them are complete rubbish, but some of them have potential.

  8. I'm a hundred ideas a day person, but I only write them down if they keep coming back to haunt me. I have about a dozen ideas in my notebook, ready to go, if I could only finish revising my first manuscript! The worst is when people find out I'm an idea person and ask if they can have some. I may not get to them for years, but they're still my babies.

  9. As I've probably mentioned here before, I've had a huge backlog of writing projects for many years. There was a period when I was in college when it seemed I was getting a new idea for a novel every month (thankfully it slowed down a bit after that!). I joke that my answer to the question that writers are so frequently asked -- 'How do you get your ideas? -- is 'How do you keep from getting ideas?!'

    You mention the advantage of being an implementer and always finishing what you start -- that's certainly something you should be proud of. That aspect of this issue is precisely the downside to being a 'hundred ideas' person: you may end up with a hundred unfinished projects, since getting new ideas is very distracting, and the pressure of having so many stories clamoring to be written can be quite daunting. And there's also always the risk of losing ideas if you don't get a chance to write down enough of an outline before you forget the details of the inspiration you had.

    Interestingly enough, right now I'm doing exactly the same thing you are, as far as combing through a previous draft of a manuscript and pulling out the pieces that are going into a new document. I've never tried Scrivener though, and in this case the original draft is a manuscript that was written on a typewriter (one of those novels I started in college!), so there really isn't any other option. But that's actually a good thing, because of the sense of freedom that comes with starting a clean draft; I think it really does makes one feel less obligated to keep things from the original version. Although I still find the process tedious in some ways, I've recently become more comfortable with picking and choosing what goes and what stays, and while it's much slower than drafting new material, the occasional exciting inspiration for some new detail or change to the manuscript does liven up the process. :)

  10. I've been thinking about your post, but am just now getting a comment in here. I was recently envious of an announcement of a big book deal of a friend. Visiting "Envy Town" is never helpful. I'll get out of there but I have to be patient with myself. This author seems to have ideas coming out of his/her ears and my ideas come slow and I have to think on them for a long time. I'm sure it's perception and wrong, but I can still never get enough reminders that everyone out there doing this work is sweating a lot, too. I like the blank page idea. I have an old ms concept I've always loved that I need to rewrite next. It was above my skill set last time around. Hopefully your new blank page method will be one more way to tackle it anew and take it for a spin. Can't have too many tools. Well, you probably can... Kind of a ramble, but there it is...

  11. Thanks for hosting this query quag by the way. I appreciate you taking the time to share while we're all along this eternal learning curve.