25 May

Plot, Character Passion - How Long Can the Love Story Last?


Plot/Character Passion... How Long Can the Love Story Last?
It had better be months, if not years, my fellow scribes, for a book-length work takes a long time to create. The story and its characters... can you sustain the passion you have for both for however long it takes?
Odds of Long Term Literary Relationship Success: most new writers I've run across have no conscious idea of how immersed/dedicated you need to be with both in order to finish a book. 
To new writers, their story and the people in it, well, they fall in love at first sight, like you would with some handsome guy you barely know. And the two of you rush off to Vegas to get hitched. And after the honeymoon phase wears off, you guys can't return fast enough to Vegas to get a quickie divorce, aka, the new writer dropping that unfinished manuscript like it's a hot, infected potato, and shoves it into the back of their desk drawer, never to see the light again.
Grrreat...just peachy........
Are we still having fun?
Moral of this Pathetic Story: don't jump at the next shiny idea that hits your periphery. Think long and hard about it. Can it, and you, sustain the passion for the time it takes to flesh that pal out into a long work? Can you two endure the months of frustrating research before one word hits the page? Can you live through the bad drafts and the rewrites and the problematic scenes and sentences that take forever to get right, and even then, go to your editor smelling like poo?
Did I mention writing a book is work?
Hint: pick a story idea that has been with you for many years. All of my book-length pieces have been traumatic events or societal mysteries that have tumbled around in my head for decades, so without one word written, those happenings and the people they affected have always been there, in my subconscious, waiting for the right time to be chosen as books.
Note: that's not to say new ideas don't have lasting power. It's just ideas that you've already lived with for quite some time have become quiet loves, haven't they? Not some flash in the pan momentary passion.
The Plot: study it. Ensure it has lasting tension, story power, for 300 pages.
The Characters: have you fully rounded them out? Have you lived with them long enough so you guys CAN endure the mundane months/years ahead? In good writing times and in bad? And yes, my peeps, this book will be a marriage, for better, for worse, in more poverty than wealth. How dedicated are you to this relationship?
My Advice: keep a running notebook of all those shiny, new ideas, but think long and hard about the ones you "think" could make a book. If the passion dies, so will the piece. And a new writer holds enough doubt in their head. They don't need to pile on.
Spoiler Alert: In the movie, Love Story, Ally McGraw croaks, so Ryan O'Neal doesn't have time to get sick of her bratty ways... ;-)

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