Fear in Writing: I hate Tupperware

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I hate Tupperware

How many years has it taken to compile this unruly cabinet of unstackable plastic? No piece fits well inside another. No lid hugs tightly to its counterpart. Squares, rectangles, what used to be circles...And don't even get me started on taking them out of the dishwasher! Why is Tupperware (Gladware, whatever-ware) the only thing that never totally dries on heat cycle?

Writing can be this way, too. I seem to hit a point - the same point - in every MS where the scenes become unstackable, the edges don't quite fit together, even the characters seem almost unrecognizable (what was once a circle...)

Do you ever reach this point in your writing? Does it happen in the same place each time, or is it one MS that haunts you from a drawer?

If you were able to overcome, how did you do it? Did you throw out all your old "Tupperware" and go for the new and tidy, stackables? Or did you give your characters a stern talk and a backhand and take back the reigns? Perhaps you set it aside for a while and came back to it later?


  1. I've done all of the above, I think. Now I usually just pick up at a different point in the book and vow to fix the earlier stuff later.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. I love this 'did you give your characters a stern talk and a backhand and take back the reigns' I'll have to do that with my miss matched plastic cupboard and maybe my MS

  3. LOL - I hate Tupperware, too! You should see my 9x13" cakepan container - it's so warped, two corners are two inches above the center when it sits on a flat surface. I think it's older than me...

    I usually go back and see why the pieces don't fit - usually it's a result of me forcing the characters to do something out of character.

  4. I bet everyone has a cupboard just like that - I know I do :)

    I tend to let it stew for a couple of days. If that doesn't work, I jump forward a bit, or go back a bit and work from there.

  5. Elizabeth- I think I'll have to try jumping forward like you suggest. I've read you say that before (does that even make sense?), so it must work for you!

    Michelle- I'm thinking I might have to completely replace the plastic-ware, but I'm a little more attached to the MS! (But not averse to the backhand in this case!)

    Diane- For me it's plastic-ware and cookie sheets. I hate when they burst into a new shape in the oven, ringing out loudly two minutes into cooking - usually twenty minutes into my daughter's nap!
    I do have a tendancy to force things in my writing. I shall have to check that. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Jemi- Seems I need to sort and throw out, and do a little time travel.

  6. Michelle

    I think everyone has a plastic ware situation similiar to yours. I did try to start over, but it all ended up in the same condition.

  7. I have thrown out so much Tupperware over the years, and so many pages of writing. Even so, my cupboards are still too messy, my file boxes of unpublished work too full, and my characters still independent and bossy.

  8. My husband loves tupperware, which is why we far too many precarious, ill fitting stacks of the stuff!
    I often get stuck about 20-30 pages into a new piece of writing. Sheer exuberence for starting this wonderful new project carries me that far. To get going again, I usually outline a bit, even if it's only the next few chapters. It may also be time to introduce some new characters, see the situation from a different perspective. If it's 1st person and I can't switch POV, it's time for some twist or something unexpected to happen. Even if I don't keep the changes, they at least wake me up and make me excited again!