Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Older Dog Wisdom 4

Walking with Tux

While out for our morning walk, Tux, my 10-year-old male dog, was prancing along when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. He brought his left front leg up and stared hard down the sidewalk. I looked where he was looking, but saw nothing that should have put him on alert. He began stalking the object. We moved down the sidewalk one slow step at a time. I kept trying to figure out what had captured his attention, but still didn’t see anything. He was stepping down the sidewalk very carefully, trying hard not to alert his quarry to his presence. I guess it didn’t occur to him that he was with me and surely whatever he was stalking would see me before it saw Tux. Be be that as it may, the two of us were stalking something only Tux could see.

Finally, Tux sped up. Then I saw what he had seen. At first, I thought it was a squirrel, but it wasn’t moving. Then I thought maybe it was Mr. & Mrs. Mallard, but they haven’t returned from their summer vacation yet. Then I was sure it was a bunny. As we got closer, Tux sped up again. He put his nose to the ground and we were moving down the sidewalk at a fast clip.

Then it happened. Tux stepped on his ear and almost went ass over teakettle. It took all my self-control not to laugh out loud. After he recovered his equilibrium, he looked around to see if anyone had seen him stumble. There was no one but us. So we moved along.

The object of his attention turned out to be a twig with its leaves still attached. Once he ascertained that it was a bunch of leaves, he proceeded to a small planted area where he knew bunnies usually hang out as if to convince me that he’d been stalking a bunny and not a bunch of leaves.

Tux’s Lesson

The lesson Tux taught me was to keep my eye on my goal so that I don’t get distracted and careen off track.

That lesson is often a hard one for writers. There are so many stories in our heads clamoring to be told that sticking with one for 75,000 words can be hard. I have several started projects that need to be finished. Someday, I tell myself, I’ll return to them and finish them. I tell myself if I don’t at least start the story, I may forget the idea. While that may be true, writing 5,000 words and then setting them aside means there are 5,000 fewer words in the novel I currently have 45,000 words written.

How Do You Track Story Ideas?

How do you track the story ideas running around in your head? Do you write the idea down somewhere and hope you remember where? Or do you start the story and set it aside until it’s time to spend the time finishing it?

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