Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You Can Learn A Lot From Your Pathetically Bad Stories

Great writers have the ability to turn anything into something good, and yes, that does include those really bad stories and story ideas you come up with. Unfortunately, regardless of how hard you try to avoid those bad projects, you will end up with a lot of these projects. Now before you go throwing those away, or giving those pages to your kids for "scratch paper" I want you to stop and think. Those projects are gems that can guide you to bigger and greater things.

First of all, let me stress that I am not saying you should go out and attempt to fix the projects. The odd are, an insurance company would consider these projects "totaled" and are certainly not worth the time or money to get them repaired. Still, there might be something to learn from these.

To use this project effectively, read the story as a reader and not as an author. Now start to ask yourself what you like and don't like about the project. Would you really spend your hard earned money on buying this story? What is it about the project that is not working for you?

I equate this as looking over a crime scene and trying to figure out what happened that led to this disaster. Did you do something different with this plot or these characters that you might not have done in prior projects? Were you missing something that, as a reader, you would need to truly connect with the story and the characters?

Once you have determined what wasn't working well on the project, you now have some things to pay attention to in your current project. If, for example, you found you were lacking a lot of introspection and your characters were really 2-dimensional, you should start to look at the characters you are working on with the new project. Are you making the same mistakes? Are you over-compensating maybe and now putting too much into your story?

This really isn't rocket science. This is, however, a learning moment. Athletes do this all of the time after a poor performance. Who is to say you can't do the same thing with your writing?

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