That plot’s not going anywhere without some help.
Your hero is pondering something of world-shaking gravitas, and
You hit a wall. Or your readers hit a wall (hopefully just your alpha readers). And you cannot unlock the scene for love, money, or little green apples. What do you do?
You can skip to something later in the story and write that, after marking your file with [fill in]. You can go rotate the cat and clean the living room just to get away from the screen or notepad, but you must return to the work at some point in time. You could go to the old faithful “Just then, a shot rang out.” Or you can try doing the scene essay-style.
At the urging of my wife, whose work is familiar to readers of these pages, I’m trying something new in a couple of weeks.
Last December, I was noodling over an idea for a new military science fiction series to expand my portfolio. My Maxwell series has reached five books, and has at least as many left to run; my Laredo War trilogy is overdue for completion of the third and final book (health issues got in the way); and I have a Western series (currently at two novels, with the third due this year) and a stand-alone fantasy novel as well, with a fantasy trilogy on the table as a more distant project. I felt the need to add another string to my bow – hence the noodling.
Dorothy challenged me to try something different.
The other day Peter blogged about the immense vulnerability created by the Internet of Things. His comments have given me to think about the connections that crawl spider-like over our entire landscape, both physical and mental, and the weaknesses they expose.
Our privacy is being eroded at a rate that would have appalled Winston Smith.
Ahem. Picture if you can the scene. Individual –who has never read any of my books – approaches me and says: “I’ve heard you’re an author. I’ve got this great idea for a story. You write it and we’ll split the money!”
At which point Dave gets arrested for attempting to push the head which held this ‘great idea’ through the nearest brick wall. It’s a squeezing process, (rather like dealing with a sponge or a mop) to get the wonderful ‘great idea’ out, so I can seize it, and run away with it and write it. Because, naturally, we authors are like that. We never ever have ideas of our own, more than we could write in this lifetime and several more.
No, of course it’s not that this is something that non-writers have done to me more times than I care to count (I have learned to wear shoes on these social occasions, which is bad, because it severely curtails my counting skillz). Read more
Or So I Thought…
I’m going to skip a week in the MICE is Nice series and bemoan a slow muse. You see, I had other projects to work on, alpha and beta reads to do, and assorted matters to attend to. And the Muse grabbed me by the hair, dragged me to the computer and informed me that “No, Against a Rising Tide is not done yet. The ending is not the ending. Start writing again.” Read more
Hear about the e-book of a fight between vampires for dominance in the story world? It’s about who gets to be the bit or the byte players. Ow. Stop hitting me. Cease with the carp. I repent (at least for now).
Most of us remember – and work on writing well – the main character/s in stories. It’s the lesser characters that tend to be neglected – both by writers and the memory of readers. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the bit-players have an awful habit of being so cool they morph into having a larger part than you planned, maybe even nudging the main character off-stage, and ruining your well-planned book.
Before you flee for the exits, this is not about novels and stories with message, although some message books and stories are also idea stories.
No, I’m thinking about books where exploring or sorting out an idea (or answering a question) drives the story. Read more