A Conversation with a Story: Finishing what you start

Story: Whoa, there, spanky. What do you think you’re doing?

Me: I’m stopping work on this old story and starting on this brand new story.

Story: And why, may I ask, are you doing that?

Me: Well, I’ve been working on this old story for a month and it’s coming along so slow and now I’m bored with it. But last night I had the most wonderful idea and it developed into a brand new fantastic story which has gotten me excited and eager. I can’t wait to work on it.

Story: I see.

Me: Yeah. So I’m going to put aside this old story and get right to work on this brand new exiting story. When I finish the new story I’ll go back to the old one. I promise.

Story: I see.

Me: There’s nothing to worry about. I’ll finish the old story. I promise. I just want to write this new exciting story first.

Story: You mean the new story you are so excited about…just like the old story you were excited about before you started having trouble with it?

Me: Well, yeah, but….

Story:  You understand you are not going to win this argument, right?

Me: Well, that appears to be the nature of these dialogs.

Story: Okay, let me set you straight on a couple of things. You don’t get to start and stop and toss stories aside like broken cookies. You know the rule. You start a story, you finish a story. I don’t care if you get bored with it, or if you have to work doubly hard to finish it. You finish it. You’re a writer. Writers finish stories. The unwritten story is the unread story.Who do you think you are, anyway?

Me: Me? Well, I think I’m a writer.

Story: Wait for it….

Me: Oh, now I see what you’re getting at. I am a writer.

Story: Exactly. And a writer finishes his stories before he goes rushing off to a new story. Writing is a profession. Treat it like one, be respectful to the story and finish it. At the very least give it the chance it deserves.You don’t get to decide these things. The story still has life. It needs to be finished. Quit messing around and finish it.

Me: Must I always finish the story?

Story: You can stop work on it if you honestly decide it no longer has promise or purpose. That’s okay. In fact, that’s the mark of a professional writer when he knows a story isn’t working and he needs to move on. What you don’t get to do is put the story aside because you’re bored with it. You took the story on; you started it. You need to finish it. Period.

Me: Story, what would I do without you?

Story: You really want me to answer that?

When you start a story do everything you can to finish the story. Then you can move on to the next one.

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