Thursday, July 10, 2008

Talking it out

One thing I love most about writing is that there is no right answer. Give ten people the same scenario and they'll create ten very different stories. My friend and fellow Diva Candice Hern is taking this point to heart--she and three other writers are coming out with a novella where they've each written a story with the same premise called It Happened One Night. You can read the premise here. Occasionally, however, for yours-over-analyzing-truly this no right answer benefit can present a problem: too many options.

This happened to me today. The "process" for all writers is different. Over each book I've written my process gets a little more refined as I realize what works for me. I started out writing "seat of the pants" but I quickly learned that this didn't really work for me. I don't use a detailed outline, but I like to have a pretty good road map of where I'm going. This usually takes the form of a good working synopsis.

But every once in a while I'll get stuck. Usually because I have too many options and I'm trying to figure out which is the "best," meaning which makes sense for the characters at that point of the story and which is going to give me the most emotional bang.

So what do I do? Pick up the phone and call one of my critique partners. Today it was Bella Andre who answered the call (while on vacation no less!) Instead of sitting beside the lake on her Adirondack chair in upstate NY she was patiently listening to my jumble of different plot points for a book she hasn't even read yet. But here's the magical thing (other than Bella :)): for me just the simple act of verbalizing the options and talking through the different scenarios usually frees me up. It worked today, I was setting speed records after getting off the phone.

Isn't it funny how "just talking about it" helps. Not just in writing, but in life. Just the process of getting it off your chest can usually make you feel better.

And can I just give a huge thanks to Bella? Thank you, Bella!

Do you find talking things out helps you as well? Who answers your call when you are in need? If you are a writer how do you deal with little road blocks?