My poor new writing project. I've stretched its neck across the chopping block three, maybe four times now, getting about two-thirds of the way through each iteration before realizing just how fatally deformed it is. So out comes the ax, and I get to watch the project twitch all over the front lawn for a while before shaking my head and fetching fresh scratch paper.
Recently a friend and I discussed just what we believed caused such bad writing. I shared a few pet theories, and he came up with the idea that pieces fail because of poor thinking. He argued that if we don't carefully consider the implications of what we're putting down, neglecting to craft a coherent structure, then we shouldn't be surprised when the narrative collapses under its own weight.
A lack of this sort of framework has certainly doomed my most recent attempts. And I don't think it has been because of problems with plot, which is what most people think of when terms such as “structure” or “framework” get bandied about. I know where I want the story to go. But problems with the speculative element or a missing piece of the background or some such thing always pop up at a crucial point. It's the convergence of fundamentals that I need, the barest meeting of plot and character, setting and theme at critical junctures. Those parts have to be straight and true before the creative weight piles on. I've got to build dem bones.
(Picture: CC 2008 by patrix)