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Friday, July 14, 2006

What I learned from Wallace and Gromit

You mean, besides how to protect and nurture Gargantuan vegetables and fight the forces of evil, gun-toting, toupee-sporting windbags?

Lots, actually. Or rather, I learned quite a lot from watching the process by which a guy started with a few ideas, got others on board, and brought his vision to life. One comment in particular struck me in one of the documentary extras, that in the storyboarding stages, it was important to follow an idea through to the end before scrapping it, giving each idea its due process - even if the idea ultimately sucked.

Basically, this gives a little hope to the SFD stage, in which I am deeply embroiled. I just read an older work by a YA author I admire, and I was devastated to come to the conclusion that my book will never, ever be that good (I come to the same conclusion every time I read a book by any of the authors to the right). I know, I know, it's unfair to compare SFD's to fully realized novels. I still do it.

Oh great readership (ha ha), you've probably already realized that I've been taking a bit of a summer hiaitus from blogging (vacation, picnics, family, the immense delight of watching my daughter learn to talk), but the book moves forward. Now wait, I didn't say leaps and bounds, but word by word.

Today's goal is 55K. I am down to the last quarter. Most everything is in place, or at least the idea of it is or a seed that will later become more fully realized, except for the most important part: the ending. I have been occupying my writing time with adding bits to the middle, writing copious notes for the next draft, outlining, and generally making discoveries why the current version is a complete waste of cyberspace while putting off getting to the end, which is going to be an emotional trainwreck to write. Maybe I don't want to be a writer; maybe I want to have written, which is a whole different animal.

This is where Wallace and Grommit come in. They keep me from giving up, give me hope that this is part of the process (however grueling), and that the SFD is good for something, signposts in the labyrinth. Every step, even the missteps, point the way to the real, the truthful. Some days I wonder if there are still more holes than cogent threads, but in general it makes sense, and in my mind, it does seem real. I only hope I can follow the signs that will lead to the heart of the story and convey that sense of realness. The story deserves it.


  1. I'm with you about Wallace and Grommit. Real inspiration there.

    My kindergarten teacher Mrs. Crabtree said, "Be yourself." You will say what you meant to, just keep working.

    I'm glad someone struggles out there. Everyone always seems so positive, for me it's struggling and scraping and squeaking by.