Monday, November 15, 2010

Missing Link

I know I haven't been blogging much. Sorry. Part of it is that my brain was hijacked by a new story idea. I was already writing a prequel to my first novel, but this new idea hit me like the proverbial freight train and I haven't been able to let it go.

I haven't been able to start typing out the story yet. The reason is that there is something missing. I have the characters. I know a whole bunch of great plot points. But I need something to tie it all up in a way that seems fresh and new. I don't want to simply look at the motivations of each character along with the chaos sown by the plot points and logically write out what happens next. Why? Because what happens next -- if done logically -- would probably sound an awful lot like any number of other past stories. This is the problem. I need something that is both logical but shockingly different.

I have several ideas for the best starting point, but each of them has certain drawbacks. Thus I can't get myself to begin until my mind can come up with a solution to these drawbacks.

Agh! My last book was so much easier, because I had no idea I was ever going to write it. The story evolved over more than twenty years and it was basically complete by the time I did decide to write it. This new story is killing me. It's been almost two months now since it hit and I still can't figure out the whole path.


  1. So that's where you've been. Well, if it's any consolation I got smacked by my muse too. It's not fun.

    How about flying? Make the wow factor flying? I don't know. Just throwing out an idea.

  2. I know where you're at, Ted! My current work's been a struggle. The first book flowed so easy, but I'm really engaging my brain on this one. And I keep changing stuff! Hoping that's for the better.

  3. I'm glad to see I haven't lost everyone! I know it's a cardinal sin for bloggers to stop blogging...

  4. We'll be waiting for when you're ready to come back. Sorry I don't have a magic arrow idea for your story.

  5. Don't panic. I feel like that often. Trust your imagination to come up with something brilliant. I usually find daydreaming or just letting my mind wander through the story usually helps. Good luck!

  6. I know what you mean, Angie, but it's two months now and it hasn't come to me. Patience is hard sometimes.

  7. ohman! TED!!! hi!!
    i'm so there with you on this! i have two ideas that are taking all my brain space, and neither are the wip that's fairly far along... after not being able to write anything for so long, i've just given in and started typing the beginnings. maybe then the solutions will strike me... if not, at least i'll be excersizing the ole' writing muscles, you know? hmmm... i wish i could help you find your missing link... sometimes going to wikipedia and randomly clicking links and scanning articles leads to some awesome inspiration for me. maybe you could try that. start with something scientific/ historical/ whatever related to what you already have and see if there are any intriguing pockets of complimentary info that could be your twist? i don't know...
    good luck! :)

  8. I'm with you. I got a great idea, wrote the beginning, sketched out some character backstory and plot strategies - then, nothing.

    I've never plotted before. But I'm writing in a genre now that NEEDS plotting or the characters will just move, and never go anywhere.


    How's the new city working out? Did you get all moved yet?


  9. Aww, sin, schmin. We're happy to see you around whenever you get inspired to post here!

    Glad to hear you've been away because the gears have been turning on something new- where you are describes just what I'm going through with my current WIP. I have the characters, and I've even made more plot notes than ever for a project before but therein I think I made my mistake. That's not how I write, and if I'm ever going to finish this beast (which is in a genre I've longed to try but haven't before) I have to figure out how to get out of my own way.

    And get back to drinking more coffee. That might help.

    Good luck fitting those pieces together- keep us posted on how it's going!


  10. how about thinking of some of your own particularly memorable moments in life and somehow transferring them into book ideas? or the experiences of your kids, who are naturally adventurous? i recall david bowie explaining in an interview how he wrote lyrics: he cut out words from newspaper articles, jumbled them, drew them out randomly, and wham, bam, thank you, m'am, he had lyrics...

  11. Thank you, everyone! I think writing about it helped a little, as I now feel I might have worked out a good first chapter.

  12. Ted, good luck with this! Maybe let yourself write a scene or two from the middle somewhere... get to know your characters and then see if THEIR logical twist to events can shake up the predictable ending. I love it when a story won't let me alone, but I think they are always better if they stew a bit before really committing to writing.

  13. Sometimes I just start writing and see where the scene/chapter ends up. I did this yesterday and found out that the uncle was poisoning the king! That wasn't in my outline! Where did this murderous plot come from?? :P

    Let your brain just freefall a bit. But not so far that you can't discern what the story is about. :) I really hope this makes sense...

  14. I did finally write the first chapter last night. I think it needs a bit of revision, but it felt good just to finally start something!