>The Bird Story is officially put away. I took some time off from it in early October, right before the move, thinking my fatigue with it would either lift and I’d come back to it with renewed enthusiasm, or else I’d figure out that it didn’t need to go any further and I should start something new.
It’s a little weird to admit that I’m not going to finish it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though. In retrospect, I went back and considered it from the point of view of the things I’ve been learning in How to Think Sideways, and I realized that it wasn’t “pinging” on the radar that is my creative mind bringing gifts to work with. So, while it was a nice story, and a good idea with interesting characters and potential for being entertaining, it wasn’t standing in my “Sweet Spot Map*.” In the meantime, I’d written a short story that gave me shivers of happiness and I thought, “What am I doing, fooling around with other stuff, when I could be playing with all these really cool toys?!”
So, as I think Holly Lisle‘s** method is really good, and it’s helped me learn how to harness creative impulses and get them to run the course, I’ve decided to go back to the beginning.
As part of my realization that it’s better if I keep my steps small for now, I’m not currently aiming for a novel, but I do have another short story in the works. Meanwhile, I’m editing the earlier short story, currently (and awkwardly) titled “Water Was in Everything.” (I’m the first to admit that I kind of suck at titles, so just let it slide for now).
*The Sweet Spot Map is a technique Holly teaches in the first few weeks of How to Think Sideways. It’s a simple exercise with deep results, allowing you to access underlying themes, desires, fears, and connections that, when made conscious and used in writing projects can first, help generate ideas, and then, transform them into great, invigorating ideas.
**I found Holly’s website, and the abundance of help she’s provided to writers, when I was writing a novel for NaNoWriMo in 2008. She has so much available for free. I recommend taking advantage of everything she’s put up on that site before taking one of her classes – not because there’s anything missing in the classes, but because you might as well explore all options and the freebies are different from the classes. It’s true, too, that her methods have evolved over time, so some of the freebies are early-drafts of what she teaches now, but they’re still useful. I happened to sign up for HTTS when it was being offered at a lower price. I don’t know if I would have signed up without that incentive, though now, of course, I think it’s completely worth it.