Thursday, January 22, 2015

Annie Dillard on Giving It All

by Jill Williamson

Have you ever done that thing where you have a cool idea, but you're saving it for the end of the book or for book two or three or some other sequel? I have. Too often. But as I was stuck on the ending of my most recent book, it became abundantly clear that I needed more coolness. I racked my brain trying to come up with ideas, and then it hit me. Oh yeah. Those cool ideas I was saving for book two. If I used them in book one, things would make a lot more sense.

Then, of course, I worried. But what will I do in book two?

But here's the thing... Who cares about book two? If book one isn't amazing, no one will read book two! Maybe I'm overreacting, but you get the point. This quote from Annie Dillard says it much better.



So I did this. I gave it all. Gave everything I had. And the book, I think, is better for it. Book two will take care of itself when the time comes. Thankfully, I have a few months to think up some good ideas.

Have you hoarded good stuff for the end of the book or for a sequel? Use your best stuff early, then stretch your creative brain to think up something new when you need it.

21 comments:

  1. I, too, am guilty of hoarding the coolness in some of my manuscripts. It's hard when you want to save the awesome for the very end! I didn't let "hoarding the coolness" take over in my current WIP, though.

    Oh, and unrelated to the topic--I have a question. My current WIP is set on Earth, but Book 2 I have planned for the characters to go to Earth's "sister planet". The two settings would sort of alternate during the series; the characters could jump between the two whenever they wished. I know it's fantasy, but would it be contemporary or high fantasy?

    Thank you, Mrs. Williamson!

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    1. I need more info, Linea. Is it current day earth? Sounds like it might be more science fiction than fantasy. I wouldn't call anything set on earth high fantasy.

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    2. It's current day Earth, and the characters are magicians from another world. They got trapped on Earth and have formed an organization to protect humans. In Book 2 they would reestablish the magic connection between Earth and their homeworld, allowing them to return home. Do you need any other info?

      Thank you. I really appreciate it. :)

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  2. If only I had this problem ... My projects tend to explode from trying to stuff too much in.

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  3. I used to hoard my ideas as well for later but once I incorporated all the cool ideas in my
    current WIP, my motivation sky rocketed and I started having a blast writing, my writer's block gone. :D

    I started to think:
    If I used all cool ideas for my current WIP, I just need to create new ones. ;)

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  4. I wish I had this problem. I don't think of sequels or anything, but I sometimes have problems getting cool things packed in with my inital story plan. Mostly with me there are snippets of awesome dialogue I think up or interactions that I can't place anymore. I could have an awesome book of just those!

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    Replies
    1. I've got some of those too, Kelsey. I always keep them in a "Cut Scenes" folder, like I might use them for something else someday.

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  5. This has happened to me so much. I get a bunch of cool ideas but I'm afraid to "waste" too much coolness in one book.

    I have since realised you can't really have too much coolness in one book (unless the idea is anachronistic or adds nothing to the plot, of course).

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  6. I am so guilty of hoarding really cool ideas for later projects. Lately, though, I've realized more and more that I should use the cool ideas because I will always come up with new ideas, and usually I end up thinking that my new ideas are even cooler than my old ones.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! And needing to come up with new ideas is a great challenge too. It's good for the writer brain.

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  7. Great quote!
    I'm kind of guilty of this when it comes to lines of dialogue I think are witty. I have similar-ish suave characters in multiple story ideas, and sometimes if I think of a line that's just a general comeback I'll refrain from including it because I'm saving it for a different character, and then I end up not writing that story anyway and never use that line. (Which, considering some of the lines I thought were witty at the time, is a blessing...)

    On the other hand, I'm prone to including way too many subplots that I think are cool and end up cluttering the story.

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    Replies
    1. Aww, yeah. I hate having to cut good dialogue. Such a bummer.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing this quote, Mrs. Williamson! How do you all ALWAYS know just what I need? :)

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  9. This is great - thank you for sharing. :)

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  10. Guilty...thanks for the quote. :)

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