Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Relax, Relate, Release…

Posted by Dahlia on July 27, 2011

I completed my novella’s draft about a few weeks ago (I’ve got an excerpt available here). I was a little tapped out creatively to jump right in and start revisions on it, so I decided to return to my other WIP that I’d placed on hold to write the novella.

However, I wasn’t able to flip out of one story into the other for a few days. My novella had taken on a more dramatic tone, whereas my novel is a bit more lighthearted. Two things helped me transition: One was an enlightening conversation about fear and vulnerability with a fellow writer friend. (I won’t name names 🙂 ). This conversation helped me see that I must see my novel through to the end, despite the internal and external obstacles. Second, I read the work of one of my favorite authors, Lolita Files. And I laughed. A lot. I won’t get into too many details, but I’ll never see a thunderstorm the same way again.

Then I went back to my WIP. I began to have an experience similar to Beyonce’s after she wrapped up Dreamgirls and started work on her second album, B-Day. She said in an interview that she’d been confined to her Dena character for so long that when she got into the studio, she was able to release and all this creativity just came out. I
had taken about a month to craft this novella that’s a bit out of the box for me because of the drama involved in it. I tend to like my writing lighthearted and fun. But, I needed to do something different because I was getting stagnant with the WIP. (When you’ve been working on it as long as I have, it can get that way sometimes). So, I took the challenge of being a drama writer and immersed myself in it completely. So, it was safe to say that when I finally got back to my WIP, I needed to release. And I did. Suddenly, I had all these ideas and ways to fill in the blanks of the chapters I needed to add and make adjustments to existing chapters. And for me, I found them to be not only lighthearted and fun, but funny. (I’ll find out soon if others agree with me on the funny stuff) I’d been through too much pretend drama in the past month. I
needed a good laugh.

So, you may not need to go as far as I did and write a completely different story to get a break from your current project. It just so happened that I had the idea and decided to run with it. Fortunately, it helped me return to my WIP with a fresh set of eyes and a bunch of ideas while at the same time, I was able to stretch out of my chick-lit comfort zone and dabble in drama for a bit. So, what do you do to release when you find that your WIP is getting a little stagnant?

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