On Perseverance

May 13, 2011

Every writer, everywhere eventually faces moments of trouble–there’s no getting around it. The issues writers face can be truly vexing, be it Writer’s Block, Writer’s Corner (or writing one’s self into a corner) or, that most daunting of Foes: Procrastination.

A completed written work is a testament to perseverance, to overcoming the blank screen and the heavy eyelids, the burning pot on the stove, the exciting football game on TV and focusing on the task at hand.

Today, my fellow author Gary Wedlund shares some of his experiences encountering a problem while writing and how he persevered:

Ren asked me to relate a time when I encountered a roadblock to a project. Wow, he must be living next door. Every time I write it’s a problem trying to come up with what to write next. The issue probably relates to how much I utterly hate plans. In story lingo that’s called working without an outline.
I’ve always been this way. I used to play my guitar on open stages. My approach to writing songs was to write them entirely in my head then get up on a stage and for the first time, see what they sounded like while everyone looked at me. Practice singing the thing? Are you kidding me? That could prove embarrassing. No way did I want my family seeing that.

I’m an anti-plot person to the extreme. Everything I write is experienced by me just like it is by the reader: A complete and utter surprise. Somehow this works for me. Many a time I’ve written a scene, only to sit back and smile, saying, “Oh, so that’s what happened!” Without those moments, writing wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

My view of writing is kind of like those old electronic football games. You know the kind with the vibrating fields. You wedge the wax football under your main player’s arm, set him on the table and hope he at least goes in the right direction and doesn’t fall over.

Take what I’m writing right now. It’s called The Condotte’s Daughter, a gun toting, fantasy, romance adventure. The book features a young lady who is erroneously drafted into the all-male army of a warlord, but who’d rather just go home and start her life. I am 60,000 words into it and I swear to the Goddess, I’ve been clueless regarding where the story is going more than two pages ahead for the whole thing.
Finally, at 60,000 words, last week, I had a brain-fart and saw the ending up there in my head. Scene, scene, scene, story-worthy problem resolution, scene, surface problem resolution, the end.
The only problem is, I want to bring this monster in at 80,000 words in order to make it easier to attract a publisher, and I’m seeing 120,000 words in my head, like everything else I end up doing. All that writing in 3rd person when I really wanted to do it 1st person (another thing the publishers like), for nothing.

Right, so anyway, here’s my way of overcoming this problem of never having a plot until one falls in my lap. Make sure the little man you wedge the wax football into is the sturdiest little guy in the set. Make him so awesome-strange and compelling, your readers don’t care one bit what’s happening around him, just as long as they get to come along for the ride. Once you do that, all you have to do is forget everything I just said and make the plot rocks regardless of how you come up with it.

Gary Wedlund

Be sure to check out Gary’s upcoming fantasy novel: Abi: Hidden Shaman from Loconeal Publications

Copyright 2011, Gary Wedlund

One Response to “On Perseverance”

  1. Great stuff! I know the feeling! I’ve always been shy about expressing my delight with the stuff that just pops up without me thinking it through, especially when it’s funny. Always afraid people will think I’m bragging. Glad I’m not the only one.

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