Robert A. Heinlein’s second rule of is writing: You must finish what you start.
Neil Gaiman would add: Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
This article is about doing whatever you have to do, even when the spark from your first light bulb moment has gone dim.
What I do When My Inspiration is Incomplete
Ding. A light bulb appears over my head. It’s faint and it’s flickering, but I get the sense it’s one of many lamps leading down a larger path.
Most of my stories come to me like this.
“What if depression acted like a movie producer invading the set of a man’s life and it gave him all these ‘notes’ that ruined his day?”
“What if the corporation that runs reality starts putting features, like gravity, behind a paywall?”
“What if a guy has a different personality disorder for every day of the week?”
These blinking bulbs line the entrance of a conceivable composition. These lamps rarely cast enough light to show a story’s structure. I can’t see the exit from the entrance, but I have a vague sense where the front door is leading. I see movement in the windows, but only catch silhouettes of the characters.
A lot of writers need to see the floor plan before venturing into the building. I’ve found if I keep pacing the block looking for the brightest concept I never go inside. I’m the kind that goes in blind and screws the bulbs in along the way in.
Those first few dings of inspiration might lead me to believe I’m walking into a plot driven mystery, but with a little more light I realize it’s an intimate character study. My skill for lighting depends on my ability to adjust my expectations of the building I’m working on. Continue reading How to Swap the Light Bulbs of Inspiration