Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Question Everything

This is probably advice to take with a pinch of salt from someone like me. I already have an innate tendency to question everything so much that it paralyses me. But this is a different kind of questioning of which I speak. This is questioning the easy.

So I'm in the middle of my wip and I get a visit from my muse. She says, "You need to put Mop into a different setting. Shock her. You need to send her back to high school." Never mind why my MC is not currently in school, or why this would be a shock when she's 17. The point is that the idea came like a little gift wrapped present. I could see tons of scenes of conflict and revelation. The idea opened up a vista, a vista, I tell you! I was psyched.

And then I questioned. Is this a good idea? Is it the best idea for this book, or is it just a convenient idea?

Sometimes I get ideas that are good ideas - but not now and not here. I need to question every path I go down, make sure that I'm not being lured down a path because it's flashy or easy or God-help-me-trendy.

So does that mean that Mop isn't going back to high school? Not necessarily. I'm going down that road anyway, seeing where it takes me. I'm fully aware that I need to question my motives and see if the new setting functions the way I need it to. I need brains, then beauty. I guess the companion piece of advice to "Question everything" is "Do it anyway." Then question again.


  1. Ah, the easy choice vs. the right choice. That comes up in writing, and in life. Perhaps your muse is asking you to consider how your character was like in high school, what experiences she had back then that might've shaped who she is in present time.

  2. Good post, and I enjoyed it. Glad I visited.

    Pop over to my blog if you have time. I'm the author of the Bella and Britt series for kids.

  3. Loved your post about writing process. I'd like to ask are you drafting or revising? If I'm drafting, I follow the muse no matter what, because she's about (or I'm about) discovery. If I'm editing and revising, I question everything! Of course, the process is never so simple, but at some deep level, trust yourself -- and your muse!

    1. Beth, that's a really good question. I'm drafting right now and I still feel the need to question everything. But I do think you are right that the 'hard' questions need to come out in the revising process. I struggle with letting go of my inner editor while drafting. Basically, I'm a control freak ;)

  4. One of the great things with fiction, though, is that in the first draft you can try that wild-and-crazy idea, and if it works, keep it. If it doesn't, ditch it and move on. No lives are lost, no-one gets hurt, and even the time you spent on this detour was time writing and learning, so it's not really time lost. Win-win-win-win! I agree with questioning; but there's a time and place for everything, and I think first draft is not really the place for being too analytical (he tells himself...) :)


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