Monday, August 5, 2013

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Working with other writers you find that it's not unusual to get frustrated with a piece of writing that you know is not working, you just want to throw it in the bin. It's soul destroying, you're spent ages on it. You are sure it's a good premise - but in its present state it just isn't working.

Before you ditch a good idea it is sometimes a good idea to stand back and look at it. Instead of throwing it away - can you recycle?

If you have written a love story from the eyes of the female or a murder story from the viewpoint of the murderer perhaps you can experiment with writing from another characters viewpoint. Writer David Dunford impressed me with his ability to write the same story from three different perspectives. A stalker, a victim and...the stalkers mother. The result was remarkable. Three entirely different pieces simply by altering the view point of the central character. 

There are other ways to recycle. I have recently changed a story from an omniscient, all knowing third person voice to a first person account from a previous minor character. I realised that I was telling the wrong persons story. The story wasn't the parents of a disabled child, rather the story of a young adult trapped with over protective parents and the disability wasn't central to the story. It was secondary - wanting to gain independence was what the story was really about.

Sometimes the rework can be done quite easily. And then of course with writing - it can be more challenging. Still it is useful to explore other perspectives. It stops us falling into a rut. Poet Audi Maserati did a workshop at The Writers at Lovedean.  While I was driving him home he suggested looking at some of my stories and finding a phrase or paragraph I was proud of and using it as the basis of a poem. So even if the piece of work can never be 'fixed' the spark of the idea you started with isn't lost.

Think about the wisdom of Albert Einstein
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

You can’t keep doing the same thing everyday and expect different results. In other words, you can’t keep the same writing routine and expect a different piece. In order for your writing to change, you must change.  The degree that you are willing to change your actions and your thinking is to the degree that your writing will change.

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