Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Longish Writer's Tip. Along With A Story of, Well, Woe.

What do I do when I'm stuck in the middle of a novel? I look out the window and play a game I'm good at. It's called "What If . . .?" Spend a few minutes coming up with ten "What if?s" for each character, and you can't help but have plot possibilities unfold. Soon, character by character, connections will emerge. Suddenly "What if Julian was having an affair" lines up with "What if Sylvia is hiding a secret from her daughter" and boom. You have a subplot.

Why am I good at this? Because I have panic disorder. Which is, essentially, the ability to wake up in the middle of the night, hear a thump, and "What if?" myself right into believing tanks from the Spanish Inquisition (hey, what if they have tanks?)are rolling across my lawn. It's a great skill. For those of you who are naturally anxious, use it. For those of you who are not, give it a try.

During the day.