Reflection: Overthinking it

So, just the other day, I was looking back at one of my older stories.  It was overall a good story, but I walked away from it for a while because there were a few gaping plot holes I didn’t know how to resolve.  The other day, I finally looked again, and realized that the plot holes I thought were there, well, weren’t.

I was looking at the section of backstory where I was concerned about these plot holes, and it all made perfect sense.  Sure it could probably use some revision, but there weren’t any major plot holes, like I thought there were.

I was overthinking it.

In trying to make the story perfect, there may be that time when some element makes more sense than I think, and I end up trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.  Or maybe the plot holes are so minor that a reader won’t notice them.  I want the story to make sense, but I can’t sweat fridge logic.  Trying to explain away too many really minor issues may just bore the reader.

I want the story to make sense, but if I try to fix a problem I don’t have, I might just end up making things worse.  Everybody has a tendency to overthink a problem now and then.  When you get caught up in the situation, it’s natural to take it a little far.

I guess this reiterates that old piece of wisdom that says when you have a problem you can’t solve, you should step away from it for a while, and look at it with a clear head.  I’ve had enough experiences with this to know it’s true.

Thankfully, my writing philosophy of not trying to force the ideas out fits this perfectly.  If I get stuck, I don’t try to force myself unstuck.  I mull it over, and if I was overthinking it, I’ll probably realize it before I get back to writing.

So, in general, not only would stepping back and getting a fresh head help solve a problem, it may help me realize that I don’t actually have a problem at all, or perhaps the problem I have is different than the problem I originally thought I had.  We all have a tendency to overthink problems, and a fresh head can usually see when you’re overthinking.  Anyway, I’d better get going for now.  White Rakogis is signing off!

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