Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Picking up the pieces

When life gets you down you have to learn to pick up the pieces.

When your plot is falling apart you have to know when to pick up the pieces.

When your characters are fighting you have to know when to pick up the pieces.

I think you can see the theme. Learning when it's time to move on and allow yourself to either trash it all and begin again or work with what you got.

It always takes me longer to realize that my characters aren't working than it should. I guess I want them to fit so badly that I'll do anything to get there, even if that means putting them in a bikini in a snow storm because they like the sun (yes I want them to use their imagination).

For those who can't pick up the pieces themselves (I'm one that experiences this quite often), friends are awesome. That's right... blog friends. They are always there to remind you that you don't suck. You're just having a sucky day.

So when do you feel it's time to pick up the pieces?

43 comments:

Siv Maria said...

Nice post and good P piece :P

Bish Denham said...

It also takes me a long time to realize when something isn't working. But I know it's time when I can't walk around without cutting my feet!

Laura Pauling said...

Sometimes I'll turn a blind eye to plot points that aren't working or feel forced! It takes cp to point out what I already know deep inside.

Marty said...

"...even if that means putting them in a bikini in a snow storm because they like the sun..."

Hey my wife did this in college!


In my own story of Greek Mythology I am have written myself into a poorly plotted corner. I guess it is time for a little mayhem from Madea... The god's know I LOVE that woman!

Kiernan said...

"You don't suck. You're just having a sucky day."

This is such a great post! Thanks for the reminder today. :-)

lynnrush said...

Thank God for critique partners and chocolate is all I have to say. Between them I make it through ups and downs--both in writing and just plain life :)

Great post!

Michael Di Gesu said...

You are so right Jen about our blogging friends picking up the pieces.

Sucky week with a few rejections ... then I read my comments and realize I can write.

Miss you, drop by when you can.


Michael

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Good reminder that things fall apart for all of us now and again:)

Lindsay said...

I agree, friends are awesome for helping us pick up the pieces. My CPs are brilliant at helping me do that. A gChat later, I'm back in the swing :)

Becky Wallace said...

I know it's time to pick up the pieces when I've spent a max of three days staring at a blank page. I have to back up and figure out where things went astray.

Madison said...

What a lovely post, thank you so much:)
I can be a bit slow at picking up the pieces, but I am learning fast and it make a whole lotta difference.

Madison

salarsenッ said...

On a daily basis. :) Sometimes, picking up the pieces (via writing) is stepping away for a bit and returning with more clarity. Just happened to me. :)

Teenage Bride said...

it happens to the best of us I suppose :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

I'm trying to piece together a positive article from a negative interview. Prayers, please.

Jess said...

Erggg! Right now I'm just mad at the people at Lego who create huge bags full of tiny plastic pieces. My daughter just tipped the bag over and started flinging them across the living room. ...off to pick up the pieces :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sure I'll hit that point soon. Maybe I'll just stop writing and avoid it all together.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I just have to walk away and leave the pieces alone for a while. When I come back, I either can figure out how to put them back together, or else I have realized that they just don't belong - they are pieces from the wrong puzzle. I don't know...it just happens. But for me, leaving it alone is key

Katie Mills said...

when I'm feeling seriously down about writing stuff, I call my mom. She's read my stuff and she can really pick me up when I need it. I don't usually do it often though. And when I've got a rejection that's got me more down than usual, I always go to my blogging buddies because I know they're the only ones who can understand.

Pam Torres said...

I think it is very similar to real life. Often we are more willing to endure something painful,only because it is familiar, than moving into the unknown. I like the idea of giving yourself permission to have a sucky day without berating who you are. Great post!

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

You've just made me realise I need to pick up the pieces. Thanks Jen.

Marjorie said...

I haven't written anything yet. I frequently delete lines in poetry so maybe I would know when to delete a character or a plot point.

Anne N Kenny said...

Amen! Blogging buddies seem to have the capability to override our writing blinders.

erica and christy said...

I can so relate to this right now. Picking up the plot pieces is second in annoying only to screwing up the plot in the first place!!
erica

Amy Wood said...

I have a hard time knowing when it's time to pick up the pieces and move on. It's nice when others can give you the encouragement to do it. It's a bonus when you can trust them to know they are right. :)
http://ifbloggingburnedcalories.blogspot.com

Ellie said...

Usually every evening at about 10pm, when I start doubting myself. And I couldn't be without my blogger friends supporting me!

Ellie Garratt

Beth said...

WHEN I"M EDITING!!! and if ur still running low on contests I'm giving away 7 books!
bethfred.com

Julie said...

I'm working on picking up the pieces in my real life right now. I'm keeping my sanity through my writing.
Thanks. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Friends are so so important. We all need friends to help pick us up when we're feeling down.

Michelle Merrill said...

I have friends and family that pick up my pieces All. The. Time. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Thanks for the upbeat post! It's good to remember those around us :)

Donna Hole said...

usually after critique group; or when I'm desperately trying to salvage something to submit :)

as you say, friends are helpful . .

.........dhole

Jennifer Hillier said...

Unfortunately, I don't usually realize something isn't working until I'm about at the two-thirds point of the book and have no idea how to bring it home. When I was writing CREEP, I was stuck at 70,000 words. It took me weeks to figure out what was wrong! And when I did, I had to go back and cut 40,000 words. So painful. But then from there it just flowed and the first draft practically wrote itself.

J.L. Campbell said...

It definitely helps to know when to move on. I'm a sucker for punishment. Thing is though, after I leave something for a bit, I come back inspired, and find a way to make those stubborn pieces fit together.

Cheree said...

I've tried to pick up the pieces and salvage many stories. I usually sit down with my brother (who's a great help for surging ideas) and we see if there's anything to salvage or to scrap.

Fantastic post.

Dafeenah said...

Usually much later than I should. I usually want to just keep trudging on even though it isn't quite working out.

Wicked Stepmother said...

I appreciate this sentiment a lot right now. I'm having trouble putting my story pieces together. I want so much for things to fit in the world that I want to fit them into...but maybe it's time to realize that my world has a life of its own.

li said...

I'll work with a piece over and over unless I discover the issue is boredom - if I'm bored/tired of the plot/characters, then the reader definitely will be! Time to start fresh. Of course, sometimes rearranging the pieces works well...I might try opening with the ending, move a chapter or two elsewhere, even try using a few paragraphs or chapters as a stand alone short story. (Which was how I got into flash in the first place.)

Kari Marie said...

I don't know what I would do without my friends, family and fellow bloggers (who are also friends, but I've never met them). Seems like they are always putting me back together.

LTM said...

You DON'T suck. You're just having a sucky day. Is it the whole Query Purg? Just keep swimming little fish. This too shall pass~ ((hugs)) xoxo

upinthecosmos said...

I'm glad your blog came up on the blog hop thingy cause this one hit home for me today:-) Stop by & read P is for Purple

JL Dodge said...

Isnt it nice to have friends that help you on your journey?
Nice post
JL&B

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends...

Nisha said...

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Donea Lee said...

I've met some amazing people blogging, YOU included!! And they have made ALL the difference in my writing journey. A constant source of championing spirit and encouragement, which I really need sometimes and I can find it here.

Great post, Jen!!