Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dead Ends

by Kim Van Sickler

The trip started out so promising! You were awakened in the night with the flash of a brilliant idea. Slipping out of bed, so as not to awaken your spouse, you close yourself in the bathroom, and perch on the toilet seat lid with your pad of paper and pen. Your hand shakes as you scribble down the most perfect of ideas, wanting to get to work on it immediately, but realizing you'll be more productive after more sleep.

When you do sit down to flesh out your idea, you're still excited, but the reality of the journey you're embarking on begins to intercede. As you puzzle over the logistics of bringing your genius idea to the printed page, the trumpet-blare of reality sounds. OK, so maybe this bold idea you had will take some work, but you roll up your sleeves and brainstorm away.

Like a traditional pearl diver who must eventually come up for breath, the truth eventually surfaces. It can come after a series of false starts, or after you've written half the story and realize it's forgettable and lose all desire to continue. It happens to all of us. This idea was a mirage. At least it is for now. File it away and maybe in time that story will actually go somewhere. It's time to return home and select a new journey.


  1. It's sad when that happens, but it's part of the process.

  2. I have a hard drive full of dead ends. I come back to them every now and then when I need a break from my WIP. I will play with it for a day or two, see if I can make a go of it, then save it again for another time. I think is part of the writing process...we all have a few half-done, once-thought-to-be-amazing ideas stashed away.

  3. I have a file drawer filled with dead-end ideas that might one day be bulldozed to become a "through street." Know when it's time to stop, but never give up. That initial kernel of an idea could still grow in a new direction & bear fruit.

  4. Sad but true. The only difference for me is that when an idea strikes at night, I fumble around in the dark and scribble with pen and paper, sure that I'll be able to read my blind writing in the morning.

    Love the visual... love the pacing here. Great job.

    Waiter, drink please!