…Or angel, muse, intuition, or higher power. Whatever you may call it, it’s usually right. Just once in awhile I wish it would speak, not in parables or whispers, but in direct words in capital letters. Like Jennifer in Deja Vu Dream, I often fail to interpret subtle messages, but later, when I get bonked on the head, I say, “Oh, that’s what the whisper meant!” It happened again yesterday.
While getting dressed, I stubbed my toe on the cabinet and grumbled about the bulky shoes, thinking, “You could trip with these things!” Not having much choice, I answered myself, “Well, not now that I’m aware of the possibility.”
I drove to the mall, and after shopping, returned to the garage. Seeing no one parked beside my vehicle, I angled toward my car. Eyes on my destination-the car, not on the route to it-I failed to notice the concrete tire stop in the empty parking space.
Uh-huh. Here’s where the bonk comes in. Same toe stubbed the concrete and I went sprawling. Nothing broken or dislocated for having landed on concrete, a major miracle to those who know me! Just a sore right forearm and hand that took the brunt of my fall.
Moral of the story is twofold. Listen to your guide, and plan your route. It applies to writing as well as to staying upright.
The muse may be pounding away at the keyboard through you, but have you planned your route? Do you know your characters better than your family members? You should, because you know your characters’ thoughts, but not necessarily those of your family members. Once you have the skeleton of the story, do you flesh it out with taste-tempting words and other sensory detail? How about scenes and plot twists that intrigue the reader? Don’t let it get as far as a concrete editor who’ll send you flying back to your keyboard!
Stuck? Ran into one of those other roadblocks, eh? There’s a ton of ways to break through it. Some find a breakthrough in a good bottle of wine, though I find a good nap in that tip. And, sometimes that’s what my brain needed – a rest.
Others find inspiration in people-watching, a change of scenery, route, or task. I have other projects on the desktop to which I bring a fresh perspective when momentarily stuck on another. Ever smack into a wall in a crossword puzzle? Do you switch activities, let your subconscious do the work, and pop back later with the answer? Sure you do, unless you’re Ms. or Mr. Perfection. In which case, go away. I’m talking to normal people. And myself – as usual.
Often, I get a boost in the right direction from odd words or names. Looking for a character name? Mine often tell me who they are, but with a bit of cautious tweaking, they might accept a suggestion. Yes, characters should be appropriately named, and while some writers believe in a name-choosing formula, a good name idea might be at your fingertips.
Have you ever checked the newspaper? I’ve found some really offbeat names there, though I never use a complete name. I allow the cadence of the name to suggest something with as much eye and ear appeal. If it doesn’t fit your character, it may birth a new character with a new story. And there’s your ‘other project’ to dig into when you’re stuck in neutral on the writing highway!