Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Stove Analogy

So...I'm gonna share with you a conversation I had recently (like today recently) with fellow LDS Writers Blogck blogger (who has gotten pretty busy) James.
so how's your writing coming?
Ups and downs. With luck, I'll be on a rampage soon.
How about yours?
Because my critique group meets every two weeks, I've decided I need to complete 1 chapter every two weeks. So far, it's working.
I just really need to sit down and say "Okay, how is this going to end?"
Sounds like you are further than me.
I'm probably going ot start querying my last MS, as soon as Tristi is finished editing it.
Then I've got a new project to hop into that I'm outlining.
When the outline is done, I'll probably disappear for a couple of weeks. Then spend half a year cleaning it up.
That's a lot further (and way more disciplined) than I can even dream right now. My last book is sitting in the freezer, it's that far from the back burner even.
It only takes a couple of days to unthaw a turkey...
Yeah, but if it's freezer burnt, there are a lot of problems.
Then you'll know what to cut away.
Actually, I think it is good to deep-freeze a project for a while then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.
Yes, that's the idea. Right now, I've got my stove pretty full. I could add another pot, but that means the ones on there would suffer.
So...what am I pointing out here? Well, James and I spoke pretty well inside of the stove analogy. What is the stove analogy? Well, it's this concept that many stories use. Let me give an example (and yeah, gonna use a soap opera).
On any given soap opera there are around 30 characters that are deemed as "contract". (FYI, contract is higher than recurring.) Now, a soap airs 5 days a week. It wouldn't work to have 6 characters a day, but out of those 30, more than likely 6-12 actually have a storyline going on. Example: Bob is searching for Sue, who was kidnapped by Joe. But Bob has Daria with him and she is secretly in on the plot and sabotaging his attempts to find her. In any given month of 20 episodes, this storyline is probably shown in 18-20 of them. These four characters are deem frontrunners or the frontburners.
But some of the other characters in the show may have gone through a major storyline recently. Like Dave has just gotten off trial for Sam' murder as it was finally proven that Alexis did it. Now Dave and Donna can be together again. So Dave, Donna, and Alexis are deemed on the back burner.

Now, this is a soap opera, so Sam, despite not having a contract, is not actually in the garbage, but is probably in the freezer for when they decide to use his character again. 

Well, this analogy can work for projects. Like a stay-at-home-mom (very important job, imo), who is trying to write a book while sewing oldest child's costume for the school play and planning a much needed vacation. 

Writing sometimes get like this. As authors we have our kitchen with unlimited ingredients. We have something on the front burner, our current WIP. Maybe we have a WIP and a book with an agent or publisher or about to come out. (Or all of the above if you're Jeff Savage.) 

Many of us have things on the back burner simmering because we can't give them much attention for one of a variety of reasons.

And then there are the old projects that sit in a freezer waiting to come back out. We don't forget about them, we're just trying to figure out the right time to throw them on the stove.

How's that for a confusing analogy?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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