Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Over-Thinking Destroys the Story

Sometimes I catch myself doing too much thinking about my writing. Of course I need to think about the character's goals, obstacles and what needs to happen to help the plot hang together. But sometimes I can get hung up on these things instead of actually writing.

It reminds me of how I can park my van perfectly if I pull into the spot and don't think much about it, but if I pause and wonder if I'm coming in at the right angle, I start having doubts. Sometimes I even end up driving right past a perfectly good spot because I thought too much about the mechanics of the process.

Does this ever happen to you? I get fixated on how a scene will fit into the overall storyline, instead of just writing it and deciding that later. Not everything needs to be worked out. For me, a lot of the good stuff emerges while I'm writing.

10 comments:

  1. This happens to me now and then. If I feel like I'm forcing things and trying too hard (ironically) to achieve natural dynamic writing, it's time for a break. I'll either go read or work on something else :) Great driving/parking analogy!

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  2. I over analyze as well. Then I have to go back and simplify. If only I could turn my brain off before things get too complicated, but sometimes that's what I need to do to see the whole picture.

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  3. I'm finding that I want everything to be perfect on the first draft and I should really know better.

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  4. I definitely do that. I probably overthink too much. I'm having that issue right now. I should read something and take a break instead.

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  5. I try not to over think it the first draft b/c yes then I'll have doubts!

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  6. Um ... yep. And I worry about people like you parking next to me. (Jus' kiddin')

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  7. I'm a crazy plotter and I spin more in my head then in the doc. I'm pantsing it right now and I love the freedom of not caring whether I'll keep the scene I'm writing until I get to the end. I plan to let my plot monster out during revision.

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  8. I'm doing a re-write, but it's turning out more like a first draft.

    Ha! David, you never know who might be parking in that spot beside you.

    E.R., I'd love to turn off that "make things complicated" side of my brain. I think I worry that the story will be too simple if I don't add in more.

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  9. Okay, so I overthink everything. It's bad. So don't ask me for advice.

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