Killing household bugs & writing gems

We moved into an apartment with bugs. Among a long list of complaints. It’s gross. I hate them.

Especially when they’re on the ceiling.

And when my husband isn’t home, I have no choice but to dispose of the little buggers. But the difficulty is this: when they’re on the ceiling, how do I get them without the slightest chance that they’ll fall right on top of me? Hmm? Let me tell you.

On Monday, I saw one of the offending creatures on the wall above the bathroom door. We don’t have any bug spray, so I pulled out the 409. I figure, if it can kill germs in the kitchen, it can kill this thing. Or at least make it fall to the floor so I can bash it.

No. It didn’t fall. It stayed there. After four long sprays of 409.

Crap. Now what?

Throw something at it! Genius, Karen.

So I wadded up a piece of paper and threw it. And threw it. And threw it. My aim is bad. But even when I got close, that bug didn’t budge.

So I tried something bigger. A shoe.

Nothing.

And then I realized what I should’ve done a long time ago. It was like divine inspiration from above–AAAAAH! (That was angels singing.)

Put the shoe on the end of a broomstick.

So I did. And I knocked the bug off. And when it was on the ground, I squished it. Picked it up with a huge wad of toilet paper and flushed it. Ah, lovely. No more bug.

Triumph! Success! …. I’m such a girl.

Now I promise this relates to writing. Really. It does. Here’s how:

Sometimes it takes us a few “genius” ideas to get to the one that finally works. And sometimes those in-between ideas are us thinking way too hard about things. But–would we get to the final triumphant idea without passing through the not-so-good ones first? Maybe not.

Writing is a process. And sometimes our glitzy gems of ideas just don’t work in our story. We have to be willing to let our story change as it needs to. If I had loved the paper wad too much, I may have tried getting that bug down all day. Maybe eventually I could’ve made it work, but it wouldn’t have been my best bug-killing work. I needed to let it go when it just wasn’t working out.

I’ve learned as I’ve been working on Melisma that–sigh!–sometimes I have to say goodbye to my favorite ideas. Or characters. Or situations. But as soon as I’ve let them go, the result is always better. Maybe that one particular spot isn’t as cool, but something else works better or makes more sense or is just plain cool somewhere else in the story. (And some things I cut, I can save for another book down the road.)

So when you’re writing, write those genius scenes. Be excited for what they do for your manuscript. But if the time comes for something else to take its place, be willing to change things up and make your writing even better.

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About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
This entry was posted in Personal, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Killing household bugs & writing gems

  1. Colleen (Mom) says:

    Brilliant analogy, my child!
    Which came first, the bug or the writing changes? Or maybe the bug just solidified the concept which you already knew?
    No matter, I just wonder about things like that. . .

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