Saturday, May 22, 2010

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time...

By Bailey Bradford (Guest Blogger)

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Maybe it even seemed like a great idea, inspiring, interesting, complex. Your fingers are twitching to get to work on the keyboard, and the plotline and characters are bright and shiny in your mind.

Then, several thousand words into it, something changes. Not a small something, but a great, big, holy-crap-what-was-I-thinking something. That writer’s euphoria evaporates and you’re left looking at a bunch of words that now seem wasted.

How did this happen? Even with an outline that had seemed to ensure the production of a successful story, you’ve come to a screeching, frustrating halt.

Walking away for a day or two doesn’t help; it just gives you more time to think about how wrong the story’s going. The whole plotline needs to be tossed, because a better idea has come along. You’ll get on it right away.

I know that I’m not the only one this has happened to. It’s frustrating, but, I try to look at it as a learning experience. It’s either that, or have a slight emotional meltdown. I’m a little on the slow side with the learning bit, since the manuscript I’m working on is the fourth version, or, to be completely accurate, it’s the second attempt on the second version. Good thing I didn’t delete the previous aborted attempts, since this one seems to be coming along nicely. All it took was a helpful suggestion from my husband to see where I’d gone off track.

It didn’t help to clarify why I’d bumbled three times before, however. That’s something I’m still not totally clear on, although there are a couple of things that I suspect weren’t helping at all. There’s been a mad mix of drama in my family life—with four daughters, that isn’t surprising. A few health issues have popped up.

Then there’s been the pressure—to write, write well, and quickly. All put on my shoulders by myself. No one is nagging or counting my word output, other than myself. I tend to always rush, and slowing down makes me jittery in my own skin. Stop and smell the roses? What roses? I saw a blur of color as I was speeding through life…

Definitely a problem there. Learning to slow down even a little is difficult, but necessary. Slamming into the figurative brick wall is not my preferable way of slowing down. The recovery time is tedious. I don’t do well with tedious. A healthy dose of introspection helped, as well as talking about what pressures and worries were weighing on my mind. It’s a good thing my husband is such a thoughtful, solid guy.

Together, we went over the previous plots and characters, potential twists and turns the story could take, and what I wanted the end result to be. Having his input was invaluable, almost as invaluable as his support. He’s always been a calming presence, and I should have talked to him sooner instead of trying to carry everything on my own. Next time, I will.

I’m still feeling my way in the writing world, learning about self-promotion, edits—and, really, the entire business aspect of e-publishing. Learning how to work through good ideas gone bad has been tricky, and I’m not done yet. What do you do when you hit a stumbling block, whether it’s one like I’ve described, or any other type that inhibits your writing? I know there’s not an easy or perfect solution, but I’d love to hear your suggestions.

I promise I’ll sit still and read them all. Out now: Rescued Book 1 in the Southwestern Shifters from Total-e-Bound Breaking the Devil from Loose-id

Coming soon from Total-e-Bound: A Subtle Breeze-- June 7th 2010 Book 1 in the Southern Spirits Relentless—August 16th 2010 Book 2 in the Southwestern Shifters When the Dead Speak—September 20th 2010 Book 2 in the Southern Spirits

Bio: A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from her can result in what is know as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Bailey,

Welcome to Beyond Romance and thanks for being my guest!

I've definitely had the experience that you describe, although often my ideas turn sour before I even start writing. I'll spend days planning and plotting, getting ready to write and then, poof...I lose the enthusiasm.

Having someone, like your husband, to use as a sounding board is incredibly valuable. My husband edits and comments on some of my work. However, he doesn't like either BDSM or M/M content, so I have to look elsewhere for help with these genres.

Good luck with your upcoming releases. You're amazingly prolific.


Lorrie said...

Hi Bailey,

Yes I know the feeling. I am 40 pages into a WIP that now has lost its appeal to me. I need a plot and characters to grab me and not let go. A story line that keeps me excited to the end. What will I do? Drop it for now and hope I can conjure up some characters I feel can lead me on a passionate and wild chase.
Nice post.

Kristabel Reed said...

It does help to talk things over with someone, I have to agree. Even if that someone has absolutely no idea what I'm talking about an outside view can often help. I had letting go of "good ideas gone bad" but sometimes they don't really work. :(

Bailey;-) said...


Thank you for having me and sharing your advice. You have an amazing blog:)
My husband has been exceptionally supportive. I can count on him for plot help, character advice and such. The sex... not so much, lol, although if I ask him, he'll try his best to help. He's pretty special;-)
And I've been a bit less prolific lately with this particular manuscript tying my fingers and brain in knots, but I believe that's in the past for this WIP. I'm sure there will be other stumbling blocks in the future, but hopefully I've learned to deal with them.

Bailey;-) said...


Will you be working on something completely different, then? Or will you be incorporating any of the same characters? I ask because this particular WIP I blogged about is part of a series, and, while I'm not under anyone's deadline other than my own with it, I couldn't focus on any other WIP's. Not that I was focusing so well on it, either...

Bailey;-) said...


It really does help, yet I waited so long to ask for my husband's help because he's so busy with work.
Do you keep the aborted attempts, or the notes on ideas that didn't work out, with the hope that there is still some potential for use?

Pat said...

I don't write but that happen with a craft things and it is so painful.Also you walk in a room to get something and than you have no idea what you came to get.

Bailey;-) said...


Lol, Pat, that happens all of the time!! My kids tease me about it mercilessly...

Margaret West said...

I've written an ms but something about it just isn't right. I've subbed it numerous times only to be told it could work with some rewrites.Mmmm, that'll be fine if I knew what wasn't liked lol So I'm at that point where I keep leaving it, then going back, then leaving it. It's a conundrum for sure!

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