brainstorming logistics in novel writing

I had a scene in my current chapter 7 that was giving me fits. My first problem was that I had gotten way off track with my first version by focusing on the wrong character. I can live with that.

So I go back and re-read my original chapter from my first draft and decide to begin again. Now I’m feeling more on task and focused. I’m back with Lucian which is where I should have been in the beginning. Everything is going great, we’re all acting, thinking, working together, everyone is in character. So what’s the problem?

My problem was simply this: I needed for Lucian to endure a physic attack delivered by a malevolent spirit. However, it seemed illogical to me that the demon would attack a strong adult male when there was a young, inexperienced child with him. In my mind, Lindsay would be the more likely target.

So I thought about it, ruminated, pondered, and came up blank.

At a complete loss, I spilled my guts to my compatriot in arms last night. My daughter held her finger up, dashed into her room, and returned with a book. She pointed out the kind of demon I needed to use and gave me a perfectly plausible reason as to why it would attack Lucian and not Lindsay. (No, I’m not telling.)

I loved it and it’s going to work.

The experience left me wondering: what do you do when you hit a plot snag you can’t overcome on your own? Do you have someone that you consult for brainstorming? Or do you work better by mulling through the problem on your own?

Me? I’ve got a great kid with a book of demons. Did I raise her right or what?

copyright 2009 Teresa Frohock


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6 Responses to brainstorming logistics in novel writing

  1. kaykaybe says:

    I’m dying here. You raised her right.

    When I’m stuck, I hit the internet and spend a few hours doing ‘research’ and sometimes will shoot an email SOS out. Last week, my friend whose husband is an FBI agent let me in on the existance of in-the-pants holsters. Some have serious names like “royal guard”, “deep cover”, and “super-deep cover”.

    I let things stew for weeks if there’s a problem. there are chapters that aren’t right, and I’m just thinking about them, rereading and ruminating, but the answer doesn’t usually come until I start typing. Usually ‘genius’ waits to appear until I really want my pillow.

  2. jenniferneri says:

    Nice post!
    I actually encountered something similar while writing recently as well. I had something at the beginning that nagged me – there was no purpose, why was it there? I would have to re-write it out! Yet, I stayed my hand, and months later the reason had found itself. It all became clear, I just hadn’t seen that far down the road. It was beautiful 🙂
    So, usually I just keep going – I am a big fan of my subconscious. But, yes I have consulted with my better half, my mother, and my sole real live writer friend 🙂

  3. uninvoked says:

    I’m not sure if I found your daughters immediate response fascinating or disturbing.

    I have to have someone to discuss writing with. Usually when someone asks me to describe the book, or the scene, or the trouble spot, the answer falls right out of my mouth while talking. In my 2007 NaNo novel I couldn’t figure out how to make a very adult topic more approachable for teens. When someone asked me about the book, I found myself telling them that the teens in my book are being used to help mediate a tough situation in the government. It just sort of came to me that instead of an event happening around the MC it had to happen to her.

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Jennifer and Kelly, What great replies! I knew everyone would have something different to share.

      Hello, uninvoked! Thanks for your reply. Actually, I’ve always encouraged my daughter to read and form her own opinions about different subjects, but I am there to guide her.

      I’m re-reading that last sentence, and I’m not very sure that it’s as reassuring as I would like for it to be . . .

      Thank you all for stopping by! 😉

  4. bookfaery says:

    Sometimes I let a problem stew, but mostly I bounce ideas off of my mother.

    Don’t worry univoked, I just read about the dear little nasties. I don’t play with them. 😉

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