I’ve just finished rereading a book that I used not to like much. It’s a lesser-known Georgette Heyer called A Civil Contract and, unlike almost all her other Regency works, it isn’t really a love story. It’s about a relationship that’s built without love, or even friendship at the beginning. The younger me found this very dull, and not what I looked for from Ms. Heyer.
The current me, however, loved it because that sort of slow-build relationship takes much more patience to write. Now that I’ve done more myself, and am a bit more familiar with the challenges of crafting subtle interaction on the page, I have a far greater appreciation of the skill required.
Impatience is one of my biggest flaws as a writer (and I have many). All these ideas in my head must be got down onto the page NOW before I lose one. That means there’s a tendency to rush them. I like quite minimalist writing as a style (having got over the purple prose era in my teens) but there’s a difference between minimal and rushed. Yes, rushed writing can be fixed in editing, but you risk losing the quality of the idea in the hasty execution of it. So when I come back later to reread and edit, I don’t see anything worth salvaging and the idea is lost after all.
I make notes, of course, and keep a list of ideas on my wiki. (For those who don’t use it, wikidot.com is a great free personal wiki site where you can keep and cross-reference research notes, character notes, world building notes, story ideas, quotes, etc etc etc.) But the nagging sense that something is being forgotten, or won’t be done justice, is a fairly constant writing companion. Does anyone have any tips on managing idea queues? Because this is one I haven’t figured out.