Yesterday, I reread Robin LaFevers post on index cards. Then I went out and bought some sticky notes. Two packs. Five colors each.
Because I’m confused.
Not from Robin’s post. From my own plot. Too confused to know what to write next. So I’m trying something that occasionally works for me, but only occasionally–going visual.
My MC has three (maybe four) possible paths. Well, in all likelihood, she’ll follow all the paths somewhere in the story. I think. At the end, though, she has to choose one. I know this. I even know WHICH path she’ll choose. I also know (darn it!) that I can’t just lay these paths out sequentially or in parallel, which is how they’re feeling in my brain right now. No, I have to weave them.
Which means I need connections. Overlaps. Characters with more than one role. Layers.
I know, these come in revision. And I’m still on the first draft. Well, actually, I’m just a bit stalled on the first draft.
I think writer’s block may actually be this kind of stall–and maybe more aptly named writer’s jam. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. It’s not that I can’t see my MC acting, going places, talking to people. It’s that I have LOTS of ideas, lots of action, people, and places. But they’re all crowded together, like I’ve poured them into one of those cake-icing bags–the ones that narrow down to a tiny hole. And all the ideas are trying to get out that hole…at the same time.
So I’m going to play with my sticky notes today, on my whiteboard, and try to come up with some pattern that shows me what to focus on. What to pull out of the hat next. I’m going to use a different color for every scene on one of those three (four?) paths and then try to move things around. (Yes, I know I said I had 10 colors. Hey, you never know!) Hopefully, I’ll get THE idea that lets me move forward.
What do you do when you need a “lightbulb moment”?