(Originally posted on Writers Gone Wild)
This is a blast from the past for my writer pals, one of my WGW greatest hits. I find that three years later it still applies
While real love is messy and complex and there is no surefire way to
tell whether your toe is in the muck or hip deep sans waders, it’s
staggeringly easy to decide if you are in love with your Work In
Progress. Come on down and take the quiz I made up just for this
purpose! Fear not, I know we were mostly English majors so there is no
math required. (Remember this next time someone calls me an evil sadist,
1.) When you think of your current hero you__
A.)Smile at what he’s done or is about to do.
B.)Squint and bite your lip; he’s kinda fuzzy right now.
C.)Frown, he’s being a pain in the ass.
2.) Is your heroine someone you’d be willing to spend a weekend hanging out with?
Yep, we’d paint the town ‘till dawn and then laugh while waiting for
our more respectable partners to bail our goofy selves outta jail
B.) Maybe, depends on if she’s being reasonable or she’s in one of her moods
C.) Hell no! We are waaaayyy too much alike or too different.
3.) When you think about your work in progress, you fervently believe__
A.) This one’s going on the best seller’s list!
B.) It has potential.
C.) What a steaming pile of crap. Why haven’t I deleted this yet?
4.) While you’re writing, do you realize that you’re typing?
A.) Nope, I’m too lost in what my characters are doing.
B.) Sometimes, when I’m stuck at a particular place.
C.) Always. Writing this damn thing is total drudgery.
5.) As you reread what you’ve written do you feel__
A.) Ecstatic, like you could walk on air.
B.) Meh, I thought this was better than it is on the reread.
C.) Why would I waste my time reading this garbage?
6.) What would you rather be doing than working on this manuscript?
A.) Nothing, save for watching it be turned into a feature film.
B.) Some of my other hobbies, or spending time with friends.
C.) Scrubbing toilets or watching paint dry.
Your results (If you haven’t seen the pattern by now.)
Infatuation, the solid foundation for love. You don’t just enjoy
writing--you believe in what you are doing! No file full of rejections
is gonna shake your faith in this bad Larry!
Reality check. You care, but is it worth going the distance? You’ve
gotten to the point where it might happen either way. Maybe a character
needs an overhaul, perhaps the plot isn’t totally in your control and
you are scared. What if I foul up this great start? Is the kiss worth
the slap? We’ve all been here. Remember the good times and fight to get
~Mostly C’s: Baby, I hate to break
it to you but the thrill is gone. You’ve bored your muse and yourself
and have given up on this WIP in all but deed. Stop phoning it in;
shelve it to be revisited later. Or be liberal with the delete button
until you see the good qualities, the reason you started this in the
first place. Word of warning—continuing down this road will suffocate
your muse and have you doubting your storytelling ability. Or in the
words of the master: “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it
dominate your destiny.”
Sorry, inner Sci-Fi geek is now locked back in the closet.
So how’d you score? Were you surprised? Let me know!
~Jennifer L. Hart