Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sideways Solutions!

I was stumbling along with my ultra-fun NaNo project, when I came to one of those bumps that trip you up when you least expect it. An unexpected death in my ms caused my half-baked, sort-of-kind-of plan to go sideways.

All normal in the course of my writing, but still unexpected. Especially during NaNo when I don't want to spend a lot of time figuring out what to do next. So, what did I do?

I asked my daughter to create a device for steampunk England that someone would kill to own. "Steampunk? Huh?" was her first response. However within about 3 minutes, she had the perfect device for me!

After a few very hectic back-and-forth minutes of discussion, not only do I have the next step in the story, but I have a pretty good idea of how the ending might turn out. At least until the next sideways turn. :)

So, what do you do when you hit a wall -- when the unexpected stops you short and changes your plans? Do you step sideways or plow right on through?

(On another note, a huge THANK YOU to WM Morrell (aka Quillfeather). She awarded me the Honest Scrap Blogger Award. Notice the great picture to the right of the blog. I've just posted my info for the Kreative Blogger award, so I won't torture you again. Well maybe a little :) I'll bet you didn't know I used to play the clarinet and I can probably give you more details than you ever want to know about hockey!! Thanks QF for the award. Check out her blog for some awesome stuff from my New Zealand buddy - http://quillfeather-blog.blogspot.com/)

26 comments:

  1. So, you're daughter gets credit for nudging you along. Terrific.

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  2. Hmmm what do I do? Break out the junk food, some Sarah Brightman and think about my mood. Once I've decided what mood I'm in, then I'm ready to tackle how to plow through my rutt. It's strange,I know. But music has a way of changing my thought processes and is helpful in finding a new direction for my wip's.

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  3. Elizabeth - she thinks it's great - she has a negative 12 on the writing aspiration scale, but she thought it was a fun topic :)

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  4. Layna - You're so right about music creating a mood :) I've never thought of using it to help me solve a problem though - great idea!!

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  5. I resort to daydreaming. Closed eyes, lying down ... the whole kit and caboodle. When I can see what is happening I can write it.
    I've been known to visualise whole rooms working from the outside in, if necessary, to the inside... to see what could cause a problem. I look for "Checkov's gun" :the something that was innocent at the time and now I can exploit as if it was intended all along (hindsight is a wonderful thing) if nothing obvious leaps out at me - I go and put it in.

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  6. Elaine - Daydreaming is a great idea! I love your description of writing a room from the outside in. The device my daughter helped me create is connected to one of my innocent objects too :)

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  7. This may sound silly... but I pace! All over our house (or at least whichever level my husband isn't on). I walk and mutter to myself while I think and always end up with some sort of whatever solution I was looking for... It has yet to let me down, haha. Though I look like a crazy person while doing it...

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  8. Sara - it doesn't sound silly at all. Movement is great for thinking! I do a lot of planning on my daily walks too - I try not to mutter, but it doesn't always work :) So I'll join you on the crazy train!

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  9. When those moments arise, I do one of the following. Pour myself a glass of wine. Walk on the beach or wander aimlessly around second hand bookshops. Or, if things are really dire I'll pour myself another drink!

    Thanks, Jemi for the mention. You are most deserved of the award. :)

    PS. Slightly concerned with Sara's comment. Paces up and down muttering...? Where's the straight jacket? Just kidding! Love it! :)

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  10. Thanks, QF!!

    Maybe I should be trying the wine! It's kinda chilly for beaches here, but maybe a walk through the leaves would work as well. Never thought of the bookstores for sprinboarding ideas - I'll try it :)

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  11. Unfortunately, when I get stuck, I turn to rapidly scarfing down something horribly bad for me, like cheetos (and I usually keep going until the words start to flow more rapidly--or I run out of cheetos). And let me tell you, cheetos and keyboards do not mix. Next time, I'll just ask my daughter what she thinks and sidestep the cheetos.

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  12. Carolina - your poor keyboard! I'd better not try that one or my keyboard would be completely orange!!!

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  13. Kid-inspired! That's great.

    I work on more than one story simultaneously. When I get stuck on one, I just move on to the other one.

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  14. Cry!

    Just kidding. I usually find one of those nagging projects that I've postponed doing. As soon as I'm busy scrubbing ovens or washing windows, my brain does what it does best...write! If only I had a direct method of typing the words as I thought without leaving the windows half done...

    Now that's a steampunk invention I would kill for!

    Carolina, one of my very prolific writer friends puts her snacks in a cup and "drinks" them. Clean keyboards, yummy Cheetos!

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  15. Anne - That's the best reason I've heard for working on multiple stories! I've never done that, but maybe it's worth a try :)

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  16. Cat - why do some of the best ideas come when you're not able to be at a keyboard??? But at least you have a clean house.

    I like the cup idea - writers are some of the most inventive people I know :)

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  17. Carolyn - yes I do - but I think she'd be horrified if I told her so. She's a very linear thinker and she doesn't get this writing bit at all :)

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  18. Okay Q, I see how it is. Mock me on other people's blogs? Thanks a LOT. ;-P

    Jemi - there is ALWAYS room on my crazy train for another passenger, haha.

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  19. As my dad used to say, "Who has more fun than the crazy people?" -- I'm in! :)

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  20. You must have ESP, Jemi. My son just help me solve a plot point yesterday. I asked to think of something terrible that might happen if an ominous force against Rock & Roll. "There'd be looting at Graceland and the radio stations would all play disco, Mom," he said. I know have two more plot points! :)

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  21. Jenny - Gotta love our kids!! I love your son's ideas. Well, I don't really love the thought of disco all day (AAHHH!), but it's a great move in a novel :) Just don't make me listen to it!!

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  22. My NaNo novel took a MAJOR sideways detour and I couldn't get it back on track. I've decided outlining is not my friend. My characters are going to do what they want to do no matter how hard I try to get them to follow my plans.

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  23. I whine and complain and then my writing buddies tell me to just scale that wall already. And so I do. :)

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  24. Natalie - I don't outline either - I find it too constrictive for my poor old brain. I do have a general direction in mind, but that's usually about it :)

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  25. Elana - whining and complaining is a lot of fun - especially if you have such good friends. They listen and tell you to get with it :)

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