Monday, April 17, 2017

. . . And Plot Ideas at the Wrong Times

If you are a writer, then you know this phenomenon. Plot ideas--or bits of delightful dialogue--always occur at the worst times, or at the weirdest. Or both. They come to you while you're on the can, or in the shower. They happen when you don't have a scrap of paper to hand, or when you're driving. Or, maybe worst of all, they happen as you're falling asleep. That one's a double-whammy. First of all, you're sure you'll remember that amazing solution to all your plot problems, but then you wake up and, you're like, "Crap, it's gone." Secondly, if you do remember it, it's usually to realize that it's actually a really dumb idea after all. "Dinosaurs? Why did I think that was the answer?"

In any case, I was thinking about this yesterday, because I've been reworking the beginning of a manuscript, and when that happens my subconscious is usually churning away at solutions and will provide them when my mind is half-relaxed. While driving home on I66, the traffic was minimal and my mind was largely unoccupied, and a new opening to the latest chapter occurred to me. I couldn't write it down, though I had pen and paper; I was driving and didn't want to pull over. I could enter it into my phone, but that's basically texting while driving, and I didn't want to do that, either.

So I settled on the voice recording app on my phone. And I discovered a few things:

1.) I have the worst, most monotone voice ever.

2.) Things that work in writing sound silly when spoken aloud. This might have to do with number 1 above. It gives me new respect for audiobook narrators.

3.) Really, you shouldn't narrate and drive. Not a good idea . . . No, I didn't get into any accidents or near-accidents, but I decided I probably should be more careful in the future!

All that being said, I got a great idea of how to solve a bigger, structure-sized problem for this ms last night while falling asleep, and I didn't forget it. What's more . . . it doesn't suck. So, hoorah for small victories. And for not sucking.

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