Thursday, August 30, 2007

Changing horses in midstream

Is that an expression? I can't decide if it is or not.

This chap is changing horses in mid match. Most players do that now in order not to tire their mounts. The horses, when they get tired, lose their brakes. It's no fun to play polo on a horse that won't stop. (See traffic jam below.) So fresh horses are a must. Sort of like ideas. Fresh ideas are more interesting than stale, old ideas. I have to admit, I'm a nick-picky reader. If the plot is stale and old, if the characters are recycled, then I'll more than likely skip pages and even change books altogether.

It's the same, alas, with writing a book. Changing books in midstream is not unheard of. Sometimes the book just doesn't take off. Like a tired polo pony, it loses it's ability to sparkle. Then, the only thing to do it change books and hope the sparkle returns. This pony rested and was played again in the last chukker - so sometimes putting a 'WIP' away until it gets fresh again is the best thing to do.

No use flogging a dead horse. :-)


Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

What a great analogy, Sam! :-) I always work on more than one manuscript at a time for just that reason. When I face a manuscript and find nothing bright or sparkling at the forefront of my mind, it’s time for me to switch to another story. After a couple of days working on that one, my mind is refreshed and I’m brimming with new ideas for the first. I know the thought makes some writers crazy, but it works really well for me.

December/Stacia said...

That is a great analogy. I usually do one project at a time, but I have been known to set something aside for a while, until it comes back to life.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I'm such a multitasker I keep changing horse before they're tired. :)

Wynn Bexton said...

I suppose that saying came from when they used to ford rivers on their horses.
I generally have other writing to fall back on when I reach the dreaded brick wall with my novel but lately I have decided not to do anything other than the novel. And I am making very good progress because I've cleared my head of all other thoughts and writing ideas and it's easier to just forge ahead. I know, though, that eventually I will hit that dreaded brick wall. So that's when I'll take a break and get a few more travel stories written.

Bernita said...

Yup, it's a a cautionary idiom.