This week I finally got stuck. I’ve always had more ideas than time to write them, so writer’s block has never been a concern. And I usually plot out my novels thoroughly. But for this book, I decided to try more of a seat-of-the-pants approach. I did a lot of research and brainstorming at first to get an idea of my characters and where they’d start, but didn’t have a fixed plot outline. As I wrote, ideas popped up and I followed them to see what to write next. That worked for four chapters. But on Monday, I was writing along as usual, when I had 30 minutes of writing time left and no idea what would happen next.
I took a walk, came up with a few seeds but no concrete ideas. I knew I needed to get my right brain talking with my left brain. On Tuesday, I took a long shower and decided to interview my main characters. With Bruce Springsteen singing in the background, I asked them the following questions and wrote down their answers:
What is your favorite thing to do?
What is your least favorite thing to do?
What qualities do you value most in people?
What qualitities do you despise?
What is your greatest fear?
What is your greatest hope or wish?
What do you want to do in the future?
What do you want to do next (in the near future)?
What is most important to you?
I thought about their answers, what would make plausible conflicts and events, and then wrote a chapter-by-chapter plot outline, of what I’d written beforehand and what could follow aftterwards. Now I know what happens next! Will I follow the plan? Probably not exactly. But now I have an idea of what I want to do. I’m not stuck anymore. My characters have led me back onto the path.
And the best news this week–a prominent agent asked me for a synopsis and partial for my first book in the Gold Rush series, Fools Gold! I am so excited to find an agent interested in my work. It shows me I’m headed in the right direction. 🙂