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A further question about writing

I have three things on my writing to-do list:

  1. The original Heritage.
  2. A short: Penny and John go to a costume party
  3. A one-off fic about Lady Christina, who intrigues me out of proportion to her importance (and characterization)
My recent work on them has been in the reverse order in which they appear. So Lady Christina's story was worked on in early November, and the last time an actual chapter of Heritage was worked on was longer ago than I can remember.

So my question to you folks is: now that I hope to revive my writing, to carve some time out of my day for it, what should I work on first? Using the first-in-first-out principle, it should be Heritage. Using the what-intrigued-you-most-recently principle, it would be the Lady Christina story.

Plus: how do you revive something dormant? If I do the equivalent of watering it every day, like I do with my neglected basil plant in the hallway, will it revive? And, to pin the metaphor down and dissect it, how exactly do I do that?

Sigh. Baby steps, I know: baby steps. I shouldn't be as disappointed as I am that my first appointment with myself to write was mostly reading old comments and thinking, "you know, this wasn't half bad!"


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2011 03:41 am (UTC)
Sometimes I can force myself to write stuff (especially if it's to a prompt, because then I think my Catholic guilt kicks in), but ordinarily my advice is to write what you're feeling. If you feel like writing Lady Christina, go for it. The only time I really deviate from that is if I think I'm just being a coward about getting myself through a rough patch in something. Then I usually make myself get going and plow through it, even if it's miserable.

As for reviving stuff that's lain dormant, I think it helps to re-read it and get yourself back in that mindset. It helps even more if you really feel like getting back into that world. However, I also think that sometimes you can just start to revive it by just forcing yourself to get back in there. I try different points of view, different starting points, stuff like that, if I find that I'm having a really hard time with it.
Nov. 29th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Something I'd love to hear about would be a story that we'd read that you had a hard time with, that you had to try different POVs or starting points to get to work. I'd love to hear how it evolved.

I was thinking about Paul Cornell's advice from the other day: if you're having writer's block, the last thing you put down was wrong. I was thinking about that regarding Heritage. I don't know quite what I did was wrong, but I know I wrote a number of sentences I didn't like and have been trying ever since to get back on track: I have an entire mss. of Chapter 16 - two, in fact, at least -- that consists entirely of exposition from Penny's POV, trying to clarify what she thinks and what she feels. That feels very much like I took a wrong turn, and it's a fact that I stopped short at that point like a driver going full-speed into a snowbank.

(It's also true that my cat got extremely sick right exactly at that point, which occupied me for nine months. But I've tried since then to get back on track, and not been able to.)

Edited at 2011-11-29 05:51 pm (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
I actually had the idea for the original novel I just wrote years before I could get the novel to come. It didn't start flowing until I switched it to first-person and present-tense.

I was stalled on the Housefic that I'm posting now until I brought the kids into it. Those long, chatty scenes with the kids in Athena's library, and then between Matt and Athena, helped me keep moving the story forward when I got stalled at the point where the Doctor and Rose needed to find a house. So I spent a little while writing those scenes, and it was while I was writing those scenes that I got the idea to make the house Wester Drumlins, and then I was able to write the rest of the fic. Sometimes my problem is I don't know where I'm going to next, so I need a bit of time to find it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )