Monday, June 27, 2011

Hide and Seek

There are the days when the writing goes well. I love those days. I want more of those days. For all those other days, however, here are a few ideas of where you might find your talent.

In the basement.
Clearing out clutter (where in heaven's name does it all come from?)can trigger a thought which gives me a hint of where my plot could go. Sometimes, of course, the thought is "Whatthe heck is this?"

In the kitchen.
Never underestimate the value of letting your mind wander while you're cooking. Warning:Don't let your mind wander too far, or you may discover (too late, of course) that you just substituted salt for sugar. Trust me, this is not wanted on the voyage.

In a book.
I've often found that reading other books in my genre will fire my imagination. However, if the book is very well written, this can also lead to fits of despair. Approach with caution - or at least, with your ego well- armed.

In bed.
No, I don't mean that. I don't write those sorts of books. I have found, though, that those first moments after I turn out the light are the perfect time to ask troublesome characters questions. If you ask them politely, it's amazing what they'll reveal.

In my notes.
If I'm really stuck, I'll go back to my initial notes that I wrote when I was first forming my plot. Many times, I'll discover something that, in the heat of actually writing the darned thing, I've forgotten completely. Sometimes, going back to the beginning of the process helps. Sometimes, it makes you want to eat a lot of cake.

Where do you look?


  1. I tend to read outside my genre to untangle my brain (except for JD Robb, because I know going in that she's one of a kind and I have no expectations of ever approaching her.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  2. I sometimes get an idea out in public, perhaps in a mall. You see an usual person and think..."I bet that they are a..." or "Maybe they do ...for a living".

  3. Elspeth - You're so right that ideas can happen just about anywhere. Agatha Christie said that the best time to plan a story is when you're doing the dishes, and she had a point. As for me, I let my mind explore ideas while I'm driving if I'm alone in my car. The changing scenery gets my mind going, and the automaticity of driving sets my mind free, if you get my meaning.

  4. If I substitute 'on the patio' for 'in the basement', your list sounds like mine. Except I'd also add while watching a movie.

  5. Terry; Reading outside our genre is a wonderful resource, isn't it?

    Alan; Have you ever wondered what other people think when they see you? I've done it - it keeps me home!

    Margot - I knew that about Dame Agatha and I think she has a point. When you're busy doing something that takes very little brainpower, you're free to think of other things. Please, Margot - be careful while you're driving!

    Carol; Of course, no basements in Texas! Why is that? I've always wondered.

  6. I'm always looking, listening, learning to find out what's going to happen with my writing. Asking is another amazing tool to have. I relish the chance to talk to another writer, see what they are working on, throw ideas back and forth and see what comes out of that.

    If none of that works, I'll allow myself to write badly, and see where I end up!

  7. In bed, definitely. But also in other people´s books, like you, and out in the sun, apparently. I never write better (eh, faster) than when I can sit outdoors in the shade of our cottage. That makes me feel happy, and usually I reach my goal twice as fast as when I sit in the living-room. (Could that have something to do with the TV, the chatty daughters and the husband do you think?) ;)


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