Take a Team Across the Stream


You’re a writer – you know how it goes.

You’re working feverishly on a project, everything fits like fingers in a bowling ball. And then, when you absotively least expect it…whammo, like a two-by-four to the forehead: the deadly stall. A character says something that reveals a plot hole so big you could fit a Buick in it.

In DROPPINGTON PLACE we simply ran out of story. It was great fun, and everybody was lively and having a good time. And then, around 42,000 words or so, Arvy, a perfectly nice kid who was sadly turned to paper, paused and looked at me.

“I’m bored.”

“You can’t be bored!  You’re, like, a key player in this thing.”

“Yada, yada, yada…key player this. If I’m such a hotshot, give me something to do.”

A quick review of the Something To Do cabinet revealed empty shelves. And there Arvy sat, with so pained an expression he was impossible to look at.

That’s okay, because we can just change horses right here in the middle of the stream and work on another project that’s been a’hangin’ around.

A couple of weeks on the new project, just starting to feel it, and, son of a biscuit, here’s a new idea: something for Arvy to do.

“Leeme see, lemme see, lemme see!”

“Sit down, Arv…or, I guess sort of fold yourself ‘cuz you’re, like, made of paper…we need to plot this out a little bit.”

“Well, I categorically demand that you cease work on your new project and give me a challenge!”

So, we drop the reins on the new horse and leap back on the first one.

Their must be some old story about fording a river and changing horses in which something bad happened. I’ll bet you it has to do with Conestoga wagons. Let’s pretend it does, okay?

So, like, what’s the point?

I know, right?

The point is this: when you hit a creative wall with a project, it’s perfectly cool to start a new one. If the old one calls during the new project, it is equally cool to go on back to it.

One suggestion: make lots of notes on each project. Although today the plot thread is perfectly clear, tomorrow… well, after all, tomorrow is another day!

Frankly, Scarlett, I’m changing horses!


Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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