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!