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Boxing the Octopus: all content copyright 2008 Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers all rights reserved.
Lately, I've spent an inordinate amount of time massaging a proposal for a new novel. Now there's nothing wrong with editing, and I truly believe the revision is to writing as gem-cutting is to rough stone, but storytellers need to maintain forward motion to keep the tale alive in their minds.
This week, I've done just that, committing to this still unsold project rather that taking the more prudent course of working on a second, fall-back proposal. I've forged ahead, recapturing the raw enthusiasm that launched this story in the first place. (I love this story! These characters! This setting!) At this point, there's no real need for each stroke to be perfect. As my books' characters slowly reveal themselves to me, I'll have plenty of opportunities to pop back and refine what I am writing. All that matters is that I keep on paddling toward the finish, sustaining my own interest as I hope to sustain readers'.
Forget that, and I risk sinking like a swimmer who stops moving to analyze technique.
Have you ever gotten so bogged down in perfecting a story's opening that you've extinguished all desire to complete it? What's your answer to this problem?