Thursday, October 3, 2013

Story Magic

When you’ve been writing a particular story for a very long time, sometimes it’s hard to continue. So hard in fact, that even before you sit down to type, you want to drop it and do anything else. ANYTHING ELSE. In short, it becomes an absolute chore to continue.

I think writing is so hard because we pour so much of ourselves into it and sometimes, a story will only take you so far before the only thing left to do is to set it aside and carry on to the next story. But eventually there comes a story that won’t leave you alone no matter what. It keeps nagging at you to write it, to finish it. But you’re terrified to write it because you’re afraid you’ll botch it up (and when I say "you", I mean me). And it lies lingering there like that ghost you pretend you don't see.

So, how do you find your way back to the magic that drew you to this story again? Is it even possible, you ask?

You daydream. You let your mind wander about the story ideas and its characters. You imagine the scenes that you were once beyond excited to write. And you keep feeding your imagination with stories of all kinds by reading as much as you can.

But most importantly, I think spending regular time with the story becomes crucial. Stories, like relationships, are high-maintenance because when you neglect them, you start to lose them, their threads and what made them special to you in the first place.

Schedule regular alone time with the story if only to stare off into blank space and daydream about it like it’s some long-lost crush. Hopefully, you will be flooded with a rain of ideas (to self: that's a horrible metaphor) or you know just think of a couple of things that can help move it forward.


  1. I love the idea of treating a story like a relationship. I've never thought of it that way, but yes! It takes commitment! And time! And effort! And sometimes you forget what you even saw in the story in the first place, so you have to think back and remember the baby stages when it was all sparks and fireflies, and you realize that you love your story, how could you have ever forgotten, and you stick it out because your story is worth every bit of pain and heartache.

    Haha, yep. I think that's pretty accurate.

    Especially when you consider how tempting it is to cheat with other shiny-new stories.

    1. And the headache, don't forget the headache! Which happens when you realize your story is a giant mess that probably can't be unraveled, but you're writing it anyway, hoping against hope that it will somehow all make sense in the end.

      At the moment, I'm holding my other novel ideas hostage (though they aren't exactly shiny new since I had them last year and even wrote bits of them). And the shiny new ideas can only take you so far before you hit the same phase of "what-the-hell-am-I-doing-I-should-be-working-on-something-else" yet again!

      I actually remember reading this post by Veronica Roth, where she compares a trilogy to a long-term relationship and it's genius: