Monday, October 26, 2009

Stop if you Dare

When driving along, when we come to a traffic light, we have choices: stop for the red light, pull to a stop at the yellow light (or quickly drive through it, and go with the green light. Sound simple? It is, even if writing.

We should all experience green lights in our writing, when the words seem to come spitting out and we can hardly type or write fast enough. Isn't it lovely when that happens?

But then, there are the yellow lights, and when you see those in your writing, you should pay attention and make a choice: write through, or pull to a halt as quickly as possible. Yellow lights come in our writing when we're getting off track, either plot-wise, or point of view, or with our characters.

Then there are the red lights. Sometimes they can be good, and sometimes they're not. It may be time to stop, take inventory, and see if your book is going the way you want it to. A full stop could be that you're needing some major overhauls.

Then there are the red lights that aren't so good: the lack of writing due to writer's block, life events, or simply a lack of direction. Sometimes, all it takes to get beyond the red light is to write through the block, get something down on paper (or computer) and worry about editing it later. But, sometimes it also takes some brainstorming. I do that, and my husband brainstorms with me, and I can usually get back to my novel quickly.

The problem with red lights is that, even though you anticipate it changing to green again, you can get derailed for a significant amount of time, and lose enthusiasm for your work-in-progress.

So, even though red lights may be common for all of us, we want more green lights and yellow lights than the screeching to a stop. So, analyze your work, and see where you are. When the green light turns to yellow, it should warn you that a red light may be imminent, so beware and stop if you dare.


Unknown said...

Love the comparison. You are always so inventive with your blogs. Unfortunately, my "caution" light is on, but that's an improvement over the "broken" red light I've been sitting at for the last two months. I've expecting "green" at any minute. *lol*

Anonymous said...

I rely on feed back from family members and friends who read my manuscript to warn me of yellow lights as many times I simply do not see them myself. Overall, my outlines are good. But sometimes an event escalates that becomes unbelievable for the reader and I need to make adjustments so the scene is more believable.

Stephen Tremp

ChrisChat said...

Hi, Katie.

Interesting observation, something I'll be keeping in mind as I hit my stops and goes.


The Old Silly said...

Well written analogy, Katie!

Marvin D Wilson

Anonymous said...

Nice comparison.