Monday, August 24, 2009

Boxes of Ideas

Warning: The following posts contains analogies. If you are tired of posts involving writing analogies, you have been forewarned.

When I first moved into my new house I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of boxes and stuff all over my floor. Would there ever be any order to this madness? And most importantly, would I ever find my Magic Bullet blade?

It was chaos at its best and very intimidating. (Why do we have so much stuff?) It has been almost one month since I have moved and still I have piles all over the house. I tell everyone that there is order to my chaos, but it is only a little bit true. The thing is, the longer I leave things not in place, the more I forget they are not in place.

Like the two end tables that sat in my kitchen for a couple weeks. There came a day when I honestly didn't see them anymore. I had to remind myself that they didn't belong there and move them into the living room.

And so it is with writing. First of all we have boxes and boxes of ideas. And slowly but surely, we find a place for these ideas. (However, there are ideas that will sadly never have a home and must accrue in our junk pile.)* Then we do find a home for our ideas. They are executed in the most beautiful prose and when we read them out loud, they taste good.

But some of these ideas shouldn't be in our manuscript, or should be somewhere else, but we are so used to seeing them there that we don't see that they shouldn't be there. I suppose that's where a good beta reader comes in handy. They tell us the end tables do not belong crammed between the kitchen table and the kitchen set. And sometimes if they are really honest they remind me that these are not end tables at all, but cheap stools with placemats on top that I think pass for end tables.

*Just as there is a Salvation Army/DI for our real-life junk, wouldn't it be brilliant if there were a charity for idea rejects? Some ideas are good, really good, but they will never be used by their creator. Maybe we should give them to those less fortunate. Or maybe a Salvation Army for Rejected Ideas is a horrible idea.


  1. Hey this is a really good analogy though! I've never heard it like this. Thank goodness for crit groups, right? LOL If something's out of place they'll see it.

    I hope things are getting more orderly now. :-)

  2. I have lots of ideas for The Salvation Army of Rejected Ideas. I loved how you said sometimes you just forget that a thing doesn't belong. I do that all the time, and I must open my eyes and get organizing.

  3. Wahoo for analogies!! And this one makes perfect sense. I actually love the Salvation Army of ideas for the less fortunate. That's funny. I bet Natalie could add a few ideas to the box for the rest of us unfortunate souls. :)