What to do, what to do when you get stuck? When you can’t figure out how to move forward, but you need to keep your story moving? Whenever this has happened to me, I’ve found that the best thing to do is not to suffer in silence, but to get help.
Just recently over the holidays, my beautiful sister Stephanie and I spent a fun day together. We had lunch at a cute café (Steph knows I just love these little places!) and then spent a few hours roaming around the Metropolitan Museum. Then we topped off a great day with hot chocolate, a tasty treat, and a mini brainstorming session.
I was hitting a rocky place at a crucial moment in my YA novel. I’d come up with a scenario, but I wasn’t happy with it. It seemed cumbersome and slow moving, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. Maybe it was just taking a day off, or the hot chocolate, or Steph’s bright energy radiating across the table to me, but between the two of us, the germ of a new idea emerged by the time we left.
Boy, was I excited! As soon as I got back home, I started getting it down on paper. The scene had to be worked over several times before it sparkled and snapped. When my rewrite was done, I emailed it to Steph. When she called and said she’d told her husband Luis that it was “awesome,” my head nearly blew off. What a satisfying feeling!
So if you’re running into some stormy weather on the page, why not make a date with someone whose judgment and imagination you trust for a brainstorming session? You may find, just by talking through your ideas, that some are too complex or slow moving. That’s what happened to me. Then you can brainstorm your way to a more entertaining and elegant approach. Even if you come away with just the germ of a solution, it can set you off in the right direction. And don’t forget the hot chocolate — it really works!