Here’s the wonderful, miraculous thing about new ideas and angles: They can come from anywhere and anyone at anytime. Just the other day, I was feeling stumped some feedback I’ve been getting about my YA novel and pondering what to do next. My super-creative husband David and I went out for some breakfast and I laid my situation out for him. While he knows a lot about my story, he isn’t immersed in it the way I am, so it seemed to me he might have a fresh angle about it. Did he ever!
We chatted for a bit and suddenly, he threw a question out that I hadn’t thought about before. As we batted it back and forth, I began to see that he’d hit on something in my story that was missing. Then he came up with a new idea that really intrigued me. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that David’s concept might help readers connect more deeply with my little heroine.
Rather than rushing off and writing something, I decided to give this new idea some time to percolate. Since it was the weekend, I just relaxed and read and took a walk to enjoy the sunshine. And all the time, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was playing with David’s idea, knocking it around. By the end of the day, without even trying, I’d come up with a way to introduce a new character into my story who will add a lot of spice and snap. It’s all very exciting!
Even now, I’m not running off and writing scenes. I’m going to just sit with this new angle for a while. Sometimes I like to let the pressure to write build up inside until I just have to respond to it. When this happens, I get really energized and excited about finally sitting down and translating my thoughts into words. So, even though I feel this new idea is going to be fruitful, I’m not going to rush into fleshing it out.
Have you ever tried the pressure-cooker approach? I’ve found it to be very effective. When you let inner tension build, finally sitting down and writing gives you a tremendous sense of release and the words just come pouring out. It can be very satisfying and soul-nourishing, especially if you’ve been stuck for a while. Write on.