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Previously, we’ve discussed situations like writer’s block, the lack of ideas for writing, and other cases when you need to use curious idea generation methods in order to come up with at least something to write about. But there is the other side of the coin, which is having too many ideas.
Sounds like any writer’s dream, at first glance. But what if I told you it’s no good cramming your writing with all sorts of bright ideas? I’ve been in a situation like this myself: almost every thought regarding the book I was writing back then (it was my first novel) seemed to be worth including. As a result, the first two drafts of my novel reminded of some eclectic mosaic, or a patchwork carpet: each of the patches was colorful and beautiful, but altogether they looked redundant and discordant.
Later, I had to throw many fragments out of that draft. This is how I learned that not everything you can think of is worth including in one’s writing. All of your ideas should contribute to the matter of constructing the general atmosphere, making it convex and credible. This is usually achieved by the uniformity of the details you use, and refers to everything included: scenery descriptions, characters’ bios, the plot, and so on.
Whenever you get a bright thought, don’t rush to incorporate it in your writing; ask yourself instead whether it’s going to work with what you have already written. Like an artist who has to move away from the painting he or she is working on to evaluate how the picture looks like in general, you as a writer should make sure everything you write will work together.
I’ve once read a novel where the main character was facing different hardships of poverty, and then his brother died. The author decided to make this moment a turning point in the life of the main protagonist. He made his character borrow a sum of money and move from a village to a city; in this city, the protagonist has a beautiful life, has fun, relaxes, and forgets his hardships—as if his brother hasn’t been buried the day before. Or as if there were no years of misery. Or if he didn’t have to return the debt. The author was horribly inconsistent, in my opinion; he found a seemingly easy way to change his or her character’s life, but did not think about how it would affect the whole story, how would it be logical, credible, and so on. Such turnovers from black to white are sometimes reasonable, and they work—but only if you have the skill to use them properly.
Temperance and consistency is what you strongly need in the process of creative writing. Just remember the following simple rules, and follow them—they are applicable to all kinds of writing:
- not every idea you get about your writing is good and worth using
- every idea you use must sustain the general atmosphere, storyline, and logic
- be careful with turnovers and make sure they are incorporated properly and do not ruin the story/description/etc.
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