I have to admit, I am a little like my main character Ian, at least when it comes to writing. Of course, I’m not psychic, although I think I have good intuition most of the time. One of my favorite things to do is to use my sub-conscious mind either to come up with creative ideas or solve plot problems. The way I do this is to think of my story every night while I’m in bed about to fall asleep. If I have a plot problem, I will fall asleep trying to work it out. Many times I wake up with the answer. Sometimes even in the middle of the night I will wake up with an idea. If I go back to sleep too fast there is the problem of forgetting, so I keep pen and paper near the bed.
Oddly, it can be harder for me to fall asleep if I don’t have an interesting story going. My mind will just bounce around either bored or preoccupied with a problem.
There have been other times when even my sub-conscious can’t solve the plot problem. In these cases, I push myself until I get it worked out. Sometimes I have to backtrack to all the previous scenes and ask questions. Have I set up enough conflict? Is everything working? Where is the character motivation coming from?
One of the biggest plot problems that used to hold me up was the temptation to let other characters take over the story. I wanted to explore those other characters because I liked them so much, but it just didn’t work. For me, my stories have to stay on track with one main character dominating most of the scenes.
I am also working on a sequel to Vallar, but the thing is I have never written a sequel. I find it challenging for many reasons. Trying this myself has made me realize why many times the sequel is not as good as the original (especially in the movies). One of the difficulties is to not create the same thing in a different form. On the other hand, I like a challenge, so I’m determined to finish it.
So tonight all my writing friends, think about your story and see what happens in the morning. Or maybe in the middle of the night. Keep that notepad handy.