Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Death of 'So What'

Like most people, I have a healthy sense of my own inadequacies. And when you put yourself on display as you do with writing, you have a heightened feeling of standing on a cliff waiting for a good gust of wind to knock you down.

While I was at LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything writing conference), two members of my writing group began asking me what was going on with my story. You see, my submissions dried up in mid-October. But it's not like I didn't have good excuses. Moving into our new home, Thanksgiving, unpacking (which is not done), followed closely by Christmas (which is definitely done), and overtime at the post office. All these things had me seriously busy, but the main result was that my writing suffered.

But it's February now, so why am I still not writing? At least like I use to...

So my group started quizzing me where I was stuck. Or at least what I was thinking about my plot. I rattled off my ideas for finishing Blood of Mars and some of my concerns. As I near the end of the rough draft, I feel like I'm coming up with several logic errors relating to the worldbuilding. Worst of all, I was beginning to doubt whether some of the ideas I had for creating the storyline were really viable.

In studying writing craft, I've learned that one of the three crucial 'things' your story has to deal with is the 'So What?' factor. In other words, why should readers care about your story?

I think that, in addition to being busy, I was losing my sense of wonder with elements of my story. My techie things weren't techie enough, the characters were cardboard, and the vampires were just lame. Then these thoughts fed their own fires. I mean, who really wants to read a vampire story anyway? They're over done!

But one of the most critical things a writing group can give you is feedback. Mine told me that everything was working and that ideas I had for continuity were fine. I just needed to get back to work. Any real problems I did have with the story, they helped me untangle. And in my head, sometimes those ideas are just like the tangled ball of Christmas lights I'll be untangling in November.

The result is that between the emotional boost I got from LTUE and my cheer-leading writing group, my writing is back on track. I've put a stake in the heart of my own 'So What?' and just started writing again. I began laying down new chapters and writing a few short stories for contests, always kicking myself in the head for forgetting that writers write.


  1. Ding dong the 'so what?' is dead! I'm glad you're finally writing again. I can't wait to read the rest of Blood of Mars.

  2. Good to hear, Tony. I'm anxious for the rest of the story, too. You've actually got me liking a vampire story for once, so you'd better finish it! And remember, Kjeld is an ass, not a brat. :)

  3. Stop looking at your blog comments and get back to writing!

  4. Thanks guys! I appreciate the support.

    And Jo... do you have any idea how much Cherry Coke burns when it comes out your nose?


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