Two weeks ago, I wrote about why I don’t usually talk to other people about works in progress. Well, yesterday, I was chatting with my partner and he asked me about how the brainstorming for my manuscript was coming along. I told him what I’d come up with since the last time we talked about it, and mentioned that I'd decided Character A was adopted by Character B.
And then I said “Because…”
What surprised me was what came after the “because.” I hadn’t actually come up with a reason why Character B adopted Character A yet, and then all of a sudden, a perfectly reasonable explanation was spilling out of my mouth. My partner just nodded and told me it all sounded good, which was a very happy surprise. Where in the world did that idea suddenly come from?
The same thing happened when I was writing a sequel to the first manuscript I queried. I had two characters trapped in a city, one of whom was a prince with a bounty on his head. They desperately needed to escape the city while keeping his identity a secret. All of a sudden, words just started appearing on the page and I knew I was typing them but I couldn’t stop. In the scene, the prince suddenly ripped off his hood and yelled “MAKE WAY FOR THE PRINCE” and all I could think was “NOOOOOOOO DON’T DO THAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaat…..well okay that’ll work.”
I wish I could harness that feeling of spitballing, figure out what it is that puts my brain in exactly the right state of mind to be able to make connections like that. This sometimes happens when I’m responding to my daily writing prompts, like when I found out that my main character is allergic to fish or that she an older sister that I did not do any planning for. Sometimes ideas just happen, and sometimes it takes weeks of wringing my brain to figure out how exactly the magic system works. It seems to happen best in those moments when I'm not really thinking about the story, like when I'm in a meeting or right about to fall asleep. It's too bad that I can't spontaneously make good ideas happen.
...can I pay you for them?