Monday, March 21, 2011

Mirage

Look! Over there. See it shimmering on the horizon?

Is it a city? An oasis?

Nope.

It's that bright, shiny new idea for your next novel that just popped into your head. And right now it's just a mirage.

Our job is to make it real - to take this shimmering illusion and turn it into a story. We take all the elements of storytelling and weave them together to bring the vision we see into sharper focus.

The closer we get to turning our shiny idea into a perfect story, the clearer the image becomes. But it still looks as far away as when we first saw it. We may have typed "The End," but those two little words don't mean we're finished.

We're just getting started. What comes next is The Big Edit. Repeat after me ... rewriting is fun.

Finally the big day arrives. We pull out the manuscript to give it one more read before letting it face the world. Or at least one editor or agent. We start reading. Maybe every once in a while, if we did all the jobs right, we might stop and tilt our head. Did I write that? Hmmm. Not too bad.

And when we reach "The End" this time, we look up and see our shimmering illusion is now a sturdy castle filled with an entire royal court.

Or maybe an austere courtroom where a battle royale plays out.

Go where your story takes you. But don't stop halfway. Otherwise your story will remain shimmering in the distance, nothing but a mirage.





 

29 comments:

Linda Kage said...

Here's to going all the way! Cheers.

Talei said...

Love it! Yes, lets keep going. Must. Finish. Must. I really must. Happy Writing this week my dear! ;-)

Lydia K said...

You're so right! It takes a lot of effort to make that mirage become reality (on the page, at least).

BTW your comment on my blog totally made me LOL. Why didn't I think of that???

Tara said...

The End seems awfully far away right now, but the view along the way has been great so far.

Joanne said...

That's such a perfect parallel, the shimmering mirage. The early story does have that way of wavering, blending, changing shape. There's a sense of it being not quite real. Here's to making that mirage an amazing reality!

Maryann Miller said...

Love the comparison. As Joanne said, it really is a great parallel.

However, no matter how many times I repeat "rewriting is fun" that doesn't make it so. LOL

LR said...

Yes it's true, we must finish! Can't say I like rewriting though. I love the initial passion, the first draft. Revision drives me crazy. But, alas, there's no way around it. :)

Janet, said...

Don't we just love making those mirages real. I guess I am different, but I like editing! I like re-reading the manuscript and making my story better.

Carol Kilgore said...

Linda - Backatcha!

Talei - Happy Writing to you, too.

Lydia - Takes a lot of effort for me, too. Glad you laughed :)

Tara - Those great views are worth every painful step.

Joanne - Right - no more shimmer!

Maryann - Accept it. Own it. Say it with pride. LOL.

LR - A necessary evil.

Carol Kilgore said...

Janet - Most of it I like, too. Other parts, not so much.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good analogy!

Laura Eno said...

Alex stole my comment, but I'll repeat it. I like that analogy!

Terry Odell said...

Having just finished my edits for a book, I can't agree with you more.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Carol Kilgore said...

Alex - Thank you.

Laura - TY2 :)

Terry - I'm closing in on that point.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Go, go go, I’m heading in for the home stretch.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Beginnings are wonderful, aren't they? It's all hopes and undiscovered wonderments. Then comes that ugly eon when you're stuck in the middle and you are convinced you'll never get to the end. It takes fortitude and gumption, but you do eventually get there. With luck. And coffee. Or wine. Trying to ignore that next sparkling idea takes strength.

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic advice, Carol. It's hard in the middle when everything starts to sag, but you're right - we need to just keep pushing forward!

Carol Kilgore said...

Holly - Keep running and cross the finish line!

Elspeth - Coffee for the work; wine for the soul. I have a new gleaming idea in the far distance, too.

Talli - The note across the bottom of my monitor says: Just Write the Damn Thing

Claudia Del Balso said...

Hi Carol,
Nice analogy ;)
I guess I have a couple of mirages that need to become real. And yes, "rewriting is fun" should be my mantra for the next nine months.

Clarissa Draper said...

What a great way to look at it! I wish the builders could build more quickly. I'm eagerly awaiting my castle!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Excellent advice! I have to admit I like the first rewrite - it's the next 100 or so that tend to drive me nuts.

Carol Kilgore said...

Claudia - Make them real!

Clarissa - Mine's getting closer to completion.

Jane - The one I'm on now is the one that makes me crazy.

J.L. Campbell said...

Cool analogy! It's like that isn't it. First a dream and then bit by bit we shape our WiP until it becomes reality.

Elle Strauss said...

It's been a while since I've had a shiny new idea--wouldn't mind seeing that mirage again sometime soon!

Carol Kilgore said...

J.L. - Exactly!

Elle - Open your mind and let it wander and play. The ideas will come.

RaShelle said...

Hey Carol - Yep the halfway point is always when writing gets tough. But, the middle is where ya gotta dig in and make it great! No mirage writing for me. =D Thanks!

Carol Kilgore said...

Good for you, RaShelle!

Sheila Deeth said...

Now why would I read this just after spotting that shimmering thought. So now I have to get it down on paper? But there's so many other stories clamoring for attention, but I guess you're right; this one reached the top of the virtual list and shimmered on the horizon. Time to type.

Carol Kilgore said...

There you go, Sheila. Those special ideas really stand out.