Over the last couple of weeks I have been telling people that I am trying to write a novel.
In a strange way it is helping me iron out my plot. People’s natural inclination is to start to ask me questions, which of course makes me think about the premise of the what I am writing.
The other added side benefit of telling people(and the real reason I am doing it) is to hold myself accountable. I know that sounds odd, but hear me out. I hate failing – I think it is because I am a Capricorn – but nonetheless I hate saying I am going to do something and not following through. I hate the looks people give you when you say you are going to do something and then just don’t do it. I hate that strange look people give you, the one that is a cross of pity and disappointment, that people give when they think that you have failed yourself.
So telling people that I am writing is a way of keeping me on point. By telling people that I am writing I inevitably get asked “How’s the writing going?” and because I am a vain creature the thought of not having an answer is mortifying enough to make me want to write my 1250 words a day just so that I can have an answer. Please don’t think that I am writing for the sake of telling people that I am writing because that is most definitely not true. I just need a kick in the pants every now and then. And my friends and family know just how to do that.
However, ever since I started to tell people that I am writing I started to notice a strange phenomenon. The second you tell someone that you are writing they start to give you their idea for your plot! Sometimes they haven’t even heard what MY plot is and they start offering suggestions about what I should write! I never know how to respond. Do you tell them thanks for the suggestion? Do you tell them that maybe they should write their own book? I never know if I should be flattered that people want to be invested in what I am writing or a little insulted that they think that I need assistance coming up with ideas.
But then I noticed something else – some of the ideas are really good! I have been struggling with the back story of my novel. I have set it in the future (though I am not quite sure how far along in the future) and the environment plays a huge part of it. But I have been wracking my brain for the details of the environmental conflicts that occur.
Enter my dad, the odd factoid buff/accountant. Before I had even told him the plot line he was already spouting ideas. Good ideas. Including a very good solution to my environmental details dilemma.
I guess sometimes you have to find inspiration wherever you find it. And use those you trust to bounce your ideas. Because sometimes when you toss things out there, you get back polished gems. And end up whacking away at the greatest plot stumbling block that you have had since you started writing.
So go on, toss out a few ideas at trusted people. You never know just what you may get tossed back at you.