August 18th, 2010

post image: dawnStill, if anything’s going to "happen" it's going to be a long journey. And, as we all know, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Unfortunately, at this point, I can’t even find my shoes.

That was from last week, when things were looking pretty bleak for me, creativity-wise. This two year book project kept running into nothing but dead ends, no matter which way I came at it. And it was a shame too, since I had so many good scenes (and even a good ending) planned. But all the good scenes and good endings in the world are for naught if readers put your book down after the first fifty pages. If you can't get that heart-pounding action going right away, readers nowadays---with so many millions of other creations vying for their attention---will walk. I don't blame them.

Fully knowing this, I explored and explored and explored for some better way to get my story jump-started. I started doing some brainstorming, with a lot of anything-goes, out-of-the-box type thinking. As I did this, one particular crazy suggestion came to me. While thinking aloud on paper, I jotted down some what-ifs and concluded with this:

Hmmm, never mind. Let's set that one aside for now. But let's continue this exercise. It's a brainstorm session and remember: in brainstorming there are no bad ideas.

I set it aside, but it came back again. I set it aside again, but it came back again. The reason I kept setting it aside is because it was so incongruous with my current story setting. The reason it kept coming back is because it was a potentially good idea. So I threw up my hands, told my brain, "You win," and started playing it through, just to see where it would end up. Never mind all the work I'd done up to that point (about 720 hours, for those of you keeping score at home). As the old saying goes, "No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back."

When I was done, I simply wrote: Did I find my shoes?

I still don't know the answer to that. Further, I'm reluctant to disclose any more details until I explore this idea a bit more. So for that, I apologize. (Not because I'm keeping anything from you, but because this amount of mysterious build-up is almost certain to result in a ginormous let-down for you once you hear it.)

At any rate, I'm feeling pretty good about this right now. I might even be ready to start PerBoWriQua early. And if you're wondering what that is, don't bother Googling it. I made it up. We'll talk about that next post.

« Previous Post . . . Next Post »

2 Responses to “Always Darkest When?”

  1. Jason says:

    Let me know if you start PBWQ early, or else it's cheating!