Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Brain Is Good, Two Brains Are Better!

Photograph by Dierk Schaefer

I started the book I'm working on a bit ago, so I discovered I didn't qualify for NaNoWriMo.  Apparently you have to start a new project and I'm not willing to deviate from my WIP at this point.  I love hearing all of your updates though and its so encouraging to see all of your word counts climb....Whew! You guys are churning out the words!

For those of you who know are familiar with the extent to which I prepare to write a book. I am a planner, an outliner, a flow-chart creating, research addict. I write character threads, and subplots, and scenes in sequential order...the whole nine yards of "Type A" behavior.  

Mind you, I also do this type of thing when planning a camping trip.

Yet sometimes in the thick of a novel, when you're in the throes of the story just flowing out of your head onto the page, you hit a hiccup...and it throws you off kilter.  Maybe its a plot hole you didn't see until you were laying it all out. Maybe the character's motivation is too thin or the setting is wrong.  Perhaps you realize the story is more interesting through another POV.   

Whatever the case, you're stopped cold in your tracks.  

This happened to me recently on my current WIP. I hit a snag and didn't understand why I couldn't go forward. In the midst of complaining to my hubby, he made some remarks about my story that were bothering him.

Little tid bits that ticked at his brain and made him arch and eyebrow at my plot.  Why would the antagonist go to such lengths? How come you don't just have them do this?  That sort of thing.  It was both infuriating and enlightening. 

I realized that despite the Alpha-Readers and Beta-Readers, the critique groups, and online chat rooms...that sometimes just explaining your premise OUT LOUD to someone not in the industry is extremely helpful.

My husband wasn't reading anything. He wasn't checking for flow or choppiness. He didn't have red pen poised to strike out punctuation.  

We were just chatting in the living room over coffee. I just started telling him about my story.  He made great suggestions, raised a lot of questions I didn't realize were coming down the pike, and helped me brainstorm some great alternative scenes to try.   

So in the flurry of it all, take some time to think out loud to someone not afraid to point out where you need help.  It might make the difference between 50,000 words worth of a mess...or a great start.

Until next time...Keep Writing!


JEFritz said...

Too bad you can't do NaNoWriMo. Although sometimes, the 1667 words per day pushes you to do quantity rather than quality.

I'm glad your husband was able to help with your WIP. Isn't it funny how writers can miss the most obvious things about their work? I never realize a comma is out of place until someone points it out. It just always sounds right!

Rachael Harrie said...

Great point about talking to someone who's not another writer - will definitely remember that one :)


Michelle Gregory said...

you might know this already, but I'm doing nano to help me get over the whole writers' block thing. i need 20,000 words to finish and i know i'm cheating, but i signed up anyway and am now part of the nano rebels. do whatever works and good luck on getting new words in.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bounce ideas off my wife and my test readers come up with some good ideas as well.
And you should've participated in NaNo anyway. I'm using it to complete the sequel to my book and at least a dozen of my NaNo buddies are also completing projects. Of course, that's another reason I'm not writing at breakneck speed - I'm taking my time so that it's not a mess when I finish.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I'm a heretic, Raquel.

I think NaNoWriMo reinforces all the wrong habits :

quantity over quality,

rush over reflection,

and losing the fun of just writing, refining, and finally getting the right words on the page --

even if they amount only to 600 --

they are the 600 that will engage the reader's sense of wonder and enjoyment.

I wish you luck in unlocking your muse and inspiration. A trusted second ear and perception is a valuable aid -- and that's for sure.

Hart Johnson said...

You know you could be a NaNoWriMo rebel--they allow you to work on an already started work--there is a special badge for it and everything...

All your prep is so foreign to me. I have to write first, plan AFTER... (I know that makes no sense, but if I get too detailed on outline, it sounds canned, if I do too much research, I have a thousand tangents and a 300,000 word book with a hard to find plot.) That said--YES! Talking it out can TOTALLY help! You're lucky you have a hubby who seems capable of evaluating a story.

Anonymous said...

I think talking out loud is very good. Maybe even just aloud to the mirror. So glad this worked for you--and with your husband!

I'm re-following you and others of my blogger friends since I had to delete my old blog due to a glitch in Blogger. I'm afraid I'm going to miss someone I want to keep following--such as you!!

I hope you're having a good week