Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb 10th -- Stinkers and Duds

Some marathoners (including me) ask, “What’s the point of writing PBs that are stinkers or total duds?” 
Well the hope is:

Even stinkers can morph into something worthwhile--partially or wholly. 
A daily writing routine can help us access story ideas and create “muscle memory” for essential elements of a storyline.

Story ideas that clutter our brains can be “tested” to see if they work.  I waste a lot of creative energy stewing over the same ideas (sometimes for years) without putting them to the test.  So if the ideas turn out to be duds, at least we've cleared our brains for new ideas.

Mary Kole, an agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, states that only one in ten PB ideas of her clients is saleable.  So the more ideas we try out, the greater our chance of creating a gem.  Here’s a link to her discussion:

We never know for sure whether an idea will turn out to be a dud or a gem until we try.  Just like in a box of assorted chocolates, we can’t tell for sure which are the sickly-sweet, pinkly-pink, marshmallow-gooey ones and which are the gems, until we take a bite!

Speaking of chocolates  . . . . gotta go.
Happy writing and chocolating!

PS  Be sure to check out the Story Starters link listed on the Homepage if you are struggling for ideas.


  1. So true! Write out all your ideas, but don't let it bother you that many of them won't make the cut. Chalk them up to learning how to craft a tight picture book ms, and they won't have been for nothing.

    One thing for sure, though: whatever you don't write will never sell.

    : )

  2. What perfect timing! Thanks so much for these words of wisdom. Sometimes this is easy to forget.

  3. You never know until you try. Two ideas that I thought would never work actually wound up in the ms of another pb. so far, it seems like they've all come perfectly together. that never would have happened if I had completely shelved the idea from the get go. Based on experience, don't worry about writing a saleable ms. Just have fun, because that's what being a kid is all about. That, and being curious.

  4. Heheheh - just finished writing "What is Puce?" which may fall into the Sinkhole of Dud, but maybe it is just an undertapped market!

  5. Is anyone else on Twitter? If so, are you tweeting about your marathon progress? I'd love to have some company/camaraderie there! I'm @lauriethompson, and I've been using the #PBMarathon hashtag. I'd be happy to build us a list, too, so we can find each other more easily. If you want in, just direct message me (D @lauriethompson) and let me know. :)

  6. I am finding, for myself, this marathon is helping me to carve out time for writing. I am not so concerned about what I am creating as much as I am just creating. "The process, not the product, will become my focus." I am writing everyday and I wasn't doing that before.

  7. I am also finding time instead of wondering when will I write. One other thing the marathon is doing for me is making me curious I am lookng for ideas everywhere and finding them! I know much of what I write is duds but it is getting the creative thoughts flowing!

  8. I discuss this same topic in my blog post/The Good The Bad and the Ugly (LOL)
    And for those of you who may be looking for ideas, here's ten ways to find them:
    And now, I'm off to do some extra work since I'll be away for the last part of the Marathon now. Hope you are all enjoying the process <3 Lynne Marie

  9. I thought everyone would enjoy this post by Guest Author Ruth Spiro, who wrote Lester Fizz, Bubble Gum Artist. It goes along with the idea that our "first" may not be the "one" and we should keep trying.
    I think the same goes for ideas. I think we have to keep coming up with ideas (or manuscripts drafts) and self-reject until we come up with the winners <3