Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stay the Course

I've recently disembarked from a runaway train I like to call "writer's binge." Writer's what? No, believe me, you've had it, too. It's that insane burst of creativity when the words are being generated so fast your fingers can't keep up. You give up sleep, food, and common sense and write until your aching, malnourished body drags itself to the engineer—your brain—and begs to be let off at the next stop. The train slows and you jump onto the platform, weary and haggard. You collect your bags and as the train pulls out of the depot you notice several of the rail ties are missing from the winding track. All breathing stops because now that you're free of the madness, you're able to see that you have an  issue with . . .


Whether you're writing poetry, short stories, or novels, continuity cannot be ignored. It must be regarded as the glue that binds your words to the characters, plot, and theme of the work in progress.

I'm suffering from a continuity issue myself as a result of the four-day writer's binge that took hold of me this week. I was writing like mad, getting very little sleep—about 4–5 hours each night—and creating thousands of new words in which my characters could develop and interact. 

How could that be a problem? 

One of my central characters—I have about three—is acting as he should be; however, somewhere along the way his personal development got out of order. Part of this can be blamed on the fact that I'm telling this story out of order—this story is  presented like the random pieces of colored glass in a  kaleidoscope—but the majority of the problem stems from my latest stint of reckless writing.

So, how am I solving continuity issues? I'm going to physically put the story in order and create a time line so I can see how my character needs to develop as the plot unfolds. I have quite a job ahead of me and it's going to set me a back a few days, but I know I'm going to have something great when I get back on track. Notice the pun? Yeah, that's my point. Without my latest epiphany I'd be without several thousand words of great scenes, characterization, and plot development.

So, what am I trying to say? 

Worry about making sense of the ride after the train reaches the depot. Stay the course and embrace those sudden bursts of creativity however and whenever they show up. Without them we'd be on the station platform empty-handed and waiting for a train that's never going to arrive.


As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.


Post a Comment