This week I wanted to touch on a tactic that I use on a regular basis that really helps me as far as developing the plot and depth of my story.
Let's face it people. The mind of a writer is a fun house of mirrored story lines, jumbled characters, and a million intersecting events that are the ideas which slowly become cohesive manuscripts. I can't speak for everyone but for me at times it's a little daunting, especially when I'm working on a longer project as I am now. I definitely sit down at the beginning and do an outline, but normally not all the dots are present at that point, and when I go to connect them later I'm a little upset that they're missing. This brings me to my topic for the week- having someone to bounce ideas off of and just generally talk to about your project.
I know, I know, it sounds so freaking simple. Just talk to someone about your story-yeah, so what? That's easy right? Well...in my experience, it's not. How many times have you started down the path of explaining your plot idea to a non-writer and had them begin to glance over your shoulder at something else more exciting like the football game or paint drying on a nearby wall? Yeah, it's annoying as hell, but it's also common. People who don't write every day can't always get absorbed in a potential idea no matter how close to you they are. Don't give up and just try to go at it alone thinking that you'll be able to tough it out by yourself without any input from someone else. You'll always benefit from another person's opinion. Acknowledgments are in books for a reason.
So here's what helps me-
- Find someone that's trustworthy, ie someone who will not spread your story around or take it for their own.
- Talk out your story in as much detail as you can. Explore every avenue and path no matter how strange it might seem at the time- you may end up with a completely new and better story line than you had before.
- Let your sounding board speak, and listen when it does. My wife is a wonderful listener but she's also very insightful and she's actually turned me in new directions that benefited my stories greatly.
Those are just a few ways of talking your ideas out of the woods of your mind and into the open. Sometimes, the only thing a good idea needs to grow into a great manuscript is a little coaxing and someone willing to listen.
Until next time, keep writing, and talking.