Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I seem to have gotten over the obsessive WoW streak in my head. I've only played a couple of times in the last week, and neither of those were particularly long sessions. It helps that I got my main character up to the max level again, and it helps that my other primary character just got to the part of the game I enjoy least. I've seen most (though by no means all) of the new stuff, and while there are still some things I think will be fun to try, none of it is really pressing.

So last night, after putting the kids to bed and taking my shower, I sat down and thought, "I should log into WoW... Who do I want to play tonight?" and realized the answer was... I really didn't. And as soon as it starts to feel like a chore, then it's something I'm really not interested in. So I didn't log in.

Instead, I opened up the story I've been working on lately and tried to work on that. I started working on a scene in which the protagonist is on his way to meet his girlfriend's parents for the first time, and it was dragging. Oh my lord, was it dragging. It was, in fact, feeling like a chore.

Only a couple of hundred words in, I backed up to re-read what I'd done and realized that I was telling instead of showing. I didn't want to write this summary. I wanted to write the scene with the girlfriend that I had been trying to summarize.

I hadn't planned to write the scene with the girlfriend. She's not going to be a long-term character in the story. (In fact, they're going to part ways shortly after the meeting with the parents.) But I wanted to write that scene.

Idiot, I told myself. This isn't a story under contract. Write what you want to write. If it doesn't work, you can trim it out later.

So I backed up and started writing the scene with the girlfriend. I worked in the exposition I'd been trying to slide into the later scene, and it was much less awkward. I managed to reveal some things about my protagonist's character much more subtly than I could've gotten across any other way. And best of all, it was fun. The girl was fun, and their relationship was fun, and I threw out nearly 1000 words without even really trying. And now, when that relationship crumbles, it will actually hurt.

I need to learn to shut up and listen to myself more often. Sometimes, when something feels like a chore, it's because I'm doing it the wrong way.

No comments: