Patty Jansen: On Finishing What You Start

Interviews with Contest judges, past winners, current winners, and entrants
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Alex Kane
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Patty Jansen: On Finishing What You Start

Postby Alex Kane » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:43 pm

Over at my blog, WOTF winner Patty Jansen offers up a guest post on the importance of finishing what you start, and knowing when to abandon a manuscript that's going nowhere: http://kanearts.net/wordpress/2012/02/09/on-finishing-what-you-start-a-guest-post-by-patty-jansen/

[...] It is all too easy, when you get bogged down in a manuscript without a clear way forward, to start the next new shiny thing, until that becomes bogged down, too, and you can start on the next new shiny thing. And so on and so forth. Rinse and repeat. Manuscripts build up in the proverbial drawer and none of them are finished. Sound familiar? Then you’re a serial non-finisher. The best advice for you is that you need some discipline and to grab the manuscript you feel most strongly about and finish it to perfection.

On the flip side, who doesn’t know at least one new writer who has spent the last five years churning out draft after draft of the same book? Often, the book is a typical first-ever-novel mess, the characters are Mary-Sue-ish and the plot meandering if not downright absent. And every time someone in the writers’ group says something, the writer goes off and does another draft, because member X said it could be about a conspiracy and member Z said that the characters are flat. So obviously the plot-less book needs a conspiracy and all the characters need lots of personal problems... [...]
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Lair
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Re: Patty Jansen: On Finishing What You Start

Postby Lair » Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:41 pm

You made some good points there - all good ones - especially about the learning curve from doing anything writing related. Here's my 2 cents on the matter.

A story has countless parts, countless attacke stragedies, countless nuances of... every conceivable thing. You get what I'm getting at. My point is this - strive to write a complete story - you mention 'banging your head against the wall' - I say don't look at it that way - explore man - seek logical bridges - meander - try new approaches, new voices, whatever. Do you think the greats in this field ever talk about banging thier heads? I had a football coach that made us yell, 'Gotta love it!' every time we ran sprints. No matter what - keep the love. Do the work. Try to publish. If you don't succeed - keep learning and keep trying - do it all. do it often.

OK - you can stop waving our lighters around now - I'm finished - HA.
Jason Lairamore
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