heinlein's rules, sexified 2: you must finish what you write


2: It's rude to come and climb off.

Ever get halfway through fooling around with a hottie only to have s/he say (with tears, probably, there's always fucking tears--I think they come in place of ejaculation) "I just can't."

They probably added, "It's not you. It's me."


Actually, I'm just yanking your chain. It's not you. It's SO them.

But guess what? You don't finish your story? THAT is all you, bitch.

Whatever it takes, keep trucking down the long road with The End a gleam in your eye. Do whatever it takes. Some people have to write through to the end and never look back. Some people (ahem) have to reread what they wrote yesterday before they can move on. Some people write thousands of shitty words a day. Some people (ahem) write 500 fucking golden words a day.

Oh yeah, gimme your excuses, your tired, your hungry, your poor... whatever. We all leave dangling plotlines on our hard drives. But if they far outnumber the finished ones, then you gotta problem, son, and it ain't yer looks. Real writers finish what they start.

A few ideas on how to actually finish? Um, here's one: there's this thing called a plot?  Heard of that, ever? I know. Old-fangled notion. So sue me. I'm 45 in a day or so. While you're trying to figure out what to get me for my birthday, read STORY for more info.

Oh noes! you say. Plotting kills my creativitay! 

I call bullshit. I bet a case of beer you didn't actually try it. You didn't think. You didn't stretch. You didn't throw out the first five ideas of what happens next. You didn't work out The Worst Thing That Could Happen. You didn't stare out the window and get busted for "napping."   And even if you did actually manage to write some semblance of a plot, you forgot to write the damn story.

Some writers (ahem) write a tagline, a query, and then a vague synopsis no one understands but herself. Some folks plot halfway through drafting (I know an award winning, best selling author who does that). And sure, some souls pantz it (I know an award winning, best selling author who does that). (Actually, I know more than one.)

Those people are not you. If you're stuck on finishing something, anything, give yourself a roadmap and a deadline and screw write that hottie story.

Oh? What's that? Plotting takes the fun out of it, you say?

Sex never said writing is fun. It's soul-scratching, orgasmic, needful, and heady, maybe. But shit ain't fun. I'm pretty sure I said something like that yesterday.

But ya wanna know what IS fun?

Typing The Fucking End.


Deb Coonts said...

I didn't bring beer...just a flirty little Pinot Noir. And, for the record, I'm a good finisher:)

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

For the record, I'll drink anything.

Peter Dudley said...

Oh, if we're talking for the record, I'm holding my tongue. (Someone has to, I suppose.)

I can hear the counter-claim: "I write character-driven stories." Yeah, but without a plot, those stories suck.

I can't imagine writing without some idea of plot. And I can't imagine plotting without some idea of what motivates the characters. And I can't imagine understanding what motivates my characters without knowing what's happening in the story. Which, when you think about it, it plot.

Characters sometimes do things I didn't plot out beforehand. But their actions aren't random--they're rational and fit with their motivations, the happenings around them, and their personalities. A properly plotted story is character driven because the characters move the plot along. A properly character driven story has a plot because the characters do things.

And, though your plot may grow and change as you write the book and new characters pop up or unexpectedly die off, you still need to think through the plot to end up with a complete story that hangs together. The more thought you put into it, the more subtle, subconscious connections you find you've built into it by the end of the first draft.

carolwriter said...

Agreed, Peter. That argument's a non-starter. A character can noodle about himself all day, but until he's confronted with choices and events, we don't know the truth.

Anonymous said...

Well, despite my (many) faults, I gotta admit I'm a closer. And I guess that's something.

So I got that going for me.