Weak Writing–when it all crashes down

Diehard football fans already know that the Metrodome in Minneapolis caved in last weekend.  Others married to diehard football fans are likely in the loop as well.  The footage was amazing and if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, I recommend checking it out.

Not necessarily for the historical value, but rather for the writing metaphor that it captures.  This decades old sports arena simply could not uphold the weight of the snow storm.  Whether the construction had a flaw or the integrity had simply deteriorated over time, the pressure of the accumulating inches  was too much.

Often we construct stories based on a character, a theme or an inciting incident.  We may fail to truly consider the intricate structure needed to support an entire, cohesive body of words.  Topping it off may be poor mechanics, poor character development, gaping plot holes or any number of flaws that can create the roof of our story to cave in under the pressure of close scrutiny.

This past week, volunteers were paid to shovel the heavy snow that had filled the arena.  For those unfamiliar with shoveling snow, it is back-breaking work.  It makes you sweat.  Your nose drips.  Your fingers freeze and your toes turn to blocks of ice.  Sometimes when I’m done shoveling I want to vomit.

I feel that way with editing sometimes. 

Do you?  Have you ever written a manuscript that can’t stand up to the tight market?  If so, have you shoveled out the slush, cleaned it up a bit and pushed forward with the shell?  Or, have you trunked the whole thing and started on a new manuscript, leaving behind the rubble of hard work and dreams?

4 responses to “Weak Writing–when it all crashes down

  1. Yes to all those things.
    I had a 150K word ms that became impossible.
    So I abandoned it.
    My NaNo this year didn’t go well, so I’m not keen on that one either. I may consider working on it at some point but who knows (at least it’s only 55K).

    BTW the Metrodome collapse is nothing.
    The Hartford Civic Center roof once collapsed, hours after a basketball game with 17000 people in attendance.

  2. I have a manuscript right now that I keep rewriting. One of these days it will be solid, I keep telling myself! This years NaNo seems better so far, more viable plot wise, so we’ll see how it stands up to time . . . fingers crossed . . . .

  3. It’s funny you chose this topic and especially the title considering Steven Pressfield’s recent post on exactly the same subject/title: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2010/12/when-it-crashes/

    I’m dealing with this right now. I know there’s a novel in the material I’ve got. The problem is, I don’t have at least half of the research material I need. I knew that before I did your tree exercise, but it really demonstrated what’s missing. Sigh. I’m hoping to receive some books on my wish list for Christmas. LOL

  4. I think I’ve done a little of both. I’m currently working on cleaning-up Pig & Twig and I’m finding I need a big shovel to clear up most of it. 🙂
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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