We writers have several of these impulsive moments wherein we take up writing projects that we would normally not touch. I feel there are mysterious forces responsible for our bursts of literary genius. It’s during these moments that we are tempted to chose themes for our WIP. Themes that can range from the completely bizarre to the weird, from the wild and wacky to the strange and quirky. What starts off with an initial burst of promise sometimes takes just moments to fizzle out, and sometimes after several pages have been filled.
After I have penned down a few chapters, doubts crawl into my mind space about the commercial and literary potential of what I considered a future masterpiece. What if the manuscript finds no publishers? Will the editor approve of it, or will it be relegated to the slush pile?
I have many unpublished manuscripts that were undertaken during those mad moments, but, after the first draft, they remained at the bottom of my drawer. I am not sure if I will ever rewrite them.
I have realized that there are ways I can tackle my moments of madness, so that I don’t have piles of manuscripts lying unpublished and that I have not wasted time on commercially unviable projects that are a definite hardsell. Nowadays, only after I am certain that the theme/topic is worth pursuing, do I invest my time and effort in the manuscript. It’s pretty heartbreaking to be stuck with manuscripts that just won’t make the shift to the book form. Not every super idea can translate into a great book.
For every mad moment I have, I try to balance it with plenty of reasoning: practical, sensible and sound thinking.
1. Is the theme suitable for that age group?
2. Will the topic appeal to the target readers?
3. Will my treatment and writing style match the theme?
4. Will the reader follow the main character page after page?
5. Does it have a conflict worth getting involved in for the readers? And for me too, as the writer?
If the answers to all the questions turns out to be in the affirmative, only then do I plunge into the process of writing.
How do you all tackle your mad moments? Do you rush to put everything down on paper, invest weeks maybe months in a project only to shelve it halfway through, or do you weigh the merit of the theme, stack up the odds against the evens, before undertaking a project? Do you have moments of madness? Do you have manuscripts that you abandoned half way through? We would love to hear all your stories.