Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

It's that time again on the YAHighway! This week's question:


How and/or when do you know an idea isn't working?




That's a tough question, really. I usually have ideas, write them down, mull over them. Sometimes I'll start an outline, or maybe write a couple pages of notes on what the story is about. When that process doesn't work...if I lose interest before the first pages are written, I know I can't write that story.

Another test of durability is making it past the fifty page mark. That seems to be where I always clam up and grind to a hault. If I can outline, brainstorm, or just push my way through I know it'll go the distance. Otherwise? Well...it has yet to happen yet. But I suppose it'd go to the junk yard.

What about you? How do you know when an idea won't work?

17 comments:

Pam Harris said...

You're right--losing interest before you actually even written a word is a tell-tell sign. That's when your writing starts to feel like working at a job that you hate. The prose will feel forced and your readers will notice that.

Kaitlin Ward said...

That 50 page mark is definitely where sometimes it starts to get a little stickier for me--the words stop flowing as fast for a while. But at that point, I can't let go, I've written too much! haha.

Marquita Hockaday said...

You make some good points. I like to think from the ending sometimes. If I can figure out what is going to happen to my characters at the end, then most likely, I can complete that story. However, sometimes I don't know what's going to happen at the end and I only figure that out while I continue to write. I think it's all about being in love with an idea.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I think I'm more of a 'right idea at the right time' kinda girl. i don't usually can things but I will put them on the backburner while other ideas keep me occupied up to the first outline/draft point and then I'll go back to them when I feel the time is right and I feel enthusiastic;

Lee Bross said...

Yes! Between pages 30 and 50, if I run out of steam, look up from my laptop and go, "Now what?" Its a good sign it's not meant to be. (Or at least I need to regroup a little)

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

I don't think I have a particular page number.... by 25k, I guess, because that's where I roughly see the halfway mark. Is that page 50? ...Oh my. Comment death, here.

Interesting post!

Kate Hart said...

Marquita's idea to work backwards is a great one!

Jess said...

I totally agree with Marquita, too! I knew how my first book would end before I even got serious, and I already know how my new WIP is going to end. 'Course, that could all change as I write it, but whatev. ;)

I've only pushed my way through one story, and it was totally worth it. I'm smarter now, so hopefully I'll give less time and thought to stories that really aren't any good so that I have more energy to muscle through the ones that actually have potential.

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Holly Dodson said...

You know, my first project I had no idea where it would end until I got there. My current WIP, though, I've known the ending since I started.

I don't work out of order though...I just can't. lol

Sarah Enni said...

Oh man I don't know how you can go right from start to finish Holly! I write all over the darn place, and then have to piece things together. I write what pops into my head that day and go with it. (Unfortunately this is an incredibly time consuming method!)

Emilia Plater said...

Great point about the first pages, and the first 50 pages, being markers. I know an idea will work for me when I start thinking of the characters as real - at least, alive IN me. (wow, that sounds creepy... but hey, we're writers :D)

Jen said...

I push and push and push to try and make it work and when it finally doesn't I grab a glass of wine and start something new. I just remind myself that eventually the ideas will start flowing!

Michelle Schusterman said...

I'm interested in the idea of getting past those markers by writing in a different order...or say, if you hit that 50 page mark and get stuck, just skip to some awesome future scene and write it even if you don't know how to get there yet. Might work! Very cool thoughts in this post and the comments.

Leila Austin said...

I feel the same way. If an idea doesn't seem to have any life to it before I've even started writing, then it's not an idea worth pursuing. I have countless ideas that never make it past a few scribbled pages of notes in a notebook.

I'm weird in that I always find the first fifty pages harder than anything else. I've always liked skipping the beginning and writing it later. Awesome future scenes that you don't know quite how to get to are where it's at! Often I work out how to get to them by writing them anyway.

Erinn said...

I normally know by page 100, it normally takes me a little while to figure out the world I've created and if I want to play about in it for a while.
Nice post!

Abby Stevens said...

It's amazing reading all these RTW's and seeing the different takes on one of the hardest parts of writing. Personally, I go with my gut - when I know it isn't right, it isn't right. Sounds simple, but it requires being really honest with yourself about motivations and why it doesn't 'feel' right.

Erinn said...

BTW I found you via YA highway.