Tag Archives: splat

Writing Life: The Secret Project

Last week I wrote about going through SPLAT, but before I could face my own personal splat, I had a few questions for it. Like why were my procrastination and resistance so hard core around the rewriting of Book Three?

The answer came to me Sunday morning. Expectations. My own high expectations and the expectations of my publisher, my friends, my family, and my fans. Writing the next book in a series isn’t easier, at least not to me, and for some reason I thought it would be. It’s much harder. There’s an absence of freedom around it due not only to all the expectations, but also the pressure deadlines.

by Gizem Vural

I compared my lack of enthusiasm while writing Book Three to the complete joy I experienced working on my new book Intergalactic. No one, not even myself, had any expectation around Intergalactic. It was a complete experiment. A NaNo even. There were no deadlines but my own, no eyes waiting to tear into it, or tear it apart, it was a secret from the entire world.

I’m not a fan of working on more than one novel at a time, especially in this case. I know Intergalactic could easily steal my attention away from my Book Three rewrite. But I decided to try a little experiment. What if I worked on another kind of writing as a warm-up each day? A creative essay? A poem? A song? A short story? Write for the sheer joy and pleasure of writing, with no strings attached, to get me into my writing mode.

And you know what? It worked! Over the past three days I’ve dabbled in a “secret” creative project, worked on some songs, and drafted a creative essay and was so elated to be doing so that when I turned to my Book Three rewrite, I was in a much happier space.

From that space I knew I could tell this story. I was still creative. I did not forget how to write overnight.

Perhaps you, too, are procrastinating to the page because of your own expectations. Maybe you’re afraid of imperfection, maybe you have a lack of confidence. Whatever the reason, perhaps this little experiment will work for you as well. When you’re up against splat, try warming up by writing creatively in another form just for pleasure, to remember why you write in the first place.

The trick is not to use the “secret project” as an excuse not to work on your novel or to procrastinate even more. What I do is set my timer for 20-40 minutes to warm up with this new idea. If it’s a poem, I might be able to crank out a first draft. If it’s a song, I can jot notes, sing and record the melody on my computer. If it’s a short story or essay, I can make an outline or jump on in with a cannonball splash.

With no expectations, it’s been a great way to start each writing day.

How do you get yourself to the page when you’re up against your own SPLAT?

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Filed under Practical Procrastination, writing life

Going through SPLAT

ink-splat-05

I’m in the middle of a rewrite for Book Three of the White Forest series. Last week I wrote a whiny note to a few of my author buddies that said right now I hate book three. okay, hate is a strong word. but it sucks, it sucks, it sucks. I’m stuck in the middle of my rewrite. it’s so different from my original vision that I can’t follow my outline any longer. i’m procrastinating working on it. i want to work on anything else. bleh.

My friend Sara wrote back and said You’re going through SPLAT!

I laughed and had to agree. “Splat” was a term used by one of our screenwriting instructors Stewart Stern when Sara and I were in the University of Washington screenwriting program together. He actually borrowed the idea from a B.C. Cartoon strip in which one of the characters had to go through a big SPLAT in one panel to get to the last panel of the cartoon.

We learned that there is no getting around splat. Splat is where our characters have to go because only on the other side of it will they find redemption. Sure, they could turn around and walk away. You can try to make it easier for them. But the story will suffer for it (or you’ll have a tragedy on your hands if splat swallows your MC alive).

We humans live through our own splats, big and small. When we want to get that degree, start that career, repair that relationship, make that life change we have to go through splat to get there. We have to face our fears, doubts, and whatever else stands in our way that is uncomfortable, messy, painful, or scary.

When our characters come up against splat, and they are standing on the edge of choice, staring at IT, what do we have them do? Do we have them turn around and walk away? No, we want a more satisfying resolution.

Do you see that same satisfaction after propelling yourself through your own life’s splats? Some days I take splat head on, other days I can only dip in a toe. But I know, I know the other side is a much more interesting place.

 

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Filed under Rewriting, writing life