Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The world will end if you write the wrong scene

I am busy practicing the discipline that not every scene I write needs to end up in the book.

You write to find the story.

And that is how there is a story. Because you looked for it and found it.

But the looking can be scary. What if this isn't the right way? 

I'll tell you. If this scene you write turns out not to be the right scene, THE WORLD WILL END in a plague of hissing cockroaches. They will hiss scorn upon you as they swallow you up in a writhing oblivion, leaving only your shoelaces and eyelashes as evidence you even existed.

Except not really. Nothing will happen. You will write another scene. And another. And one of them will be right. 

That's all. Angst makes it feel very complicated, but it's not. 

ONWARD! WRITE! You will find stuff you weren't looking for. It's like sofa cushions. Yeah, there's money there, and the occasional diamond ring, but there's also a lot of lint, and probably a half-sucked Life Saver or a used Q-tip you'd rather not deal with. But would you let a used Q-tip stand between you and a diamond ring?! Plus which, who knows? You may well find a tiny, mystical medallion in ancient bronze, and have no idea how it came to be there, or what its powers are ... and it will light your brain on fire.

(Also: have a nice day :-)

P.S. This discipline is the thing that gives me courage and freedom to write the scenes instead of just fretting about them, and more often than not, they are right, or at least right-ish. YAY!


Jennifer Morian Frye said...

Thanks for that. :)

Holly said...

This sounds sooooo familiar! So glad I'm not the only one. Here's to slightly less perfectionism.

Laura S. said...

Finding stuff I'm not looking for is my favorite thing about writing! It's amazing what your imagination knows that you do not. :)

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Amy-Baskin.blogspot.com said...

Thank you, Laini. I just removed the shower cap from my brain. I will stop shielding myself from all these scenes that pelt my head and let my mind bathe in them more.

Laurence King said...

Love the post, Laini, and love the sofa cushion analogy. I forget all too often that I can add, delete, alter anything until it feels just right. Thank you for the reminder :)

Karlivo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karlivo said...

HI, very good advice thank you.

And also want to say come to Mexico City soon please!!
Me and my friends would love to meet you.

Lynn said...

The under-the-cushions analogy is spot on!
Thanks for the tip.
And the morning chuckle.
And the reminder that I really, really ought to clean my sofa.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

This is such a good reminder - "You write to find the story."

It's a also a good reminder to clean out the couch. And under it. And around it... I swear I'm not a slob! :)

Kaye M. said...

Once again, Laini wins a battle in the war against the jerk brains! Thanks so much for this. I recently had to turn my plot upside down - or, according to my CPs, the right way around since apparently I was going the wrong way entirely.

Since that angst is done with, my new worries for the past two days is that I'm starting out slow and am writing ALL THE WRONG THINGS.

This was a good reminder to write to find the story. Thanks. <3

Frankie Brown said...

But, what if... what if it's not the story you're (I'm) having trouble with?

What if it's the voice?

What if the voice of the character who comes to you, while a great, great, great, original, compelling voice, is just so alien that writing it feels like writing left-handed? Or blindfolded? Or in Latin??

Sarah Beth Durst said...

I read the line about "hissing cockroaches" and my immediate thought was: "I KNEW IT!"

My next thought was I need to get offline and rewrite my current scene... Or clean out my sofa.

(I do like that sofa cushion analogy, by the way. Very apt.)

House of Walcott said...

Thank you, Laini! I struggle with first drafts above all else because of the notion that what I'm writing is more than a first draft. Also I love the hissing cockroaches imagery.

Katie Anderson said...

Good stuff!

Chyna said...

Hi Laini!

Just made the trailer :) I hope you like em


The link is above

LinWash said...

I have forwarded this post to so many people! Thanks for your encouraging word!

Anonymous said...

I needed this. I don't know how many times I've said that about your writing posts, but they always come at a perfect time.

I just dug out a notebook and decided to freewrite anything that comes to mind. Tear up that sofa and summon the demons!

tay my said...

When will you be judging the book trailer contest? I am going to be on pins and needles until May 1st and until you do!! i hope I win.. and I hope you will comment on my video, too/. :D

Anonymous said...

When is book 3 of Smoke and Bone coming out?

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