Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Trust Yourself

How often do you write yourself into a corner and how do you escape?

By Vicki Delany

With my 13th book (A Cold White Sun) just being released, I have some experience with this.  And the one thing I have learned is to trust myself as a writer.

Many beginning writers give up as soon as they find themselves trapped in the soggy middle or written into a corner. So they start another book, and then give up give up as soon as they find themselves trapped in the soggy middle or written into a corner, and so they start another book.  And the pattern continues.

I now trust myself to get out of the corner or to wade through the soggy middle.

Case in point. In Negative Image (Constable Molly Smith #4) there is a subplot about a spate of break and enters while the homeowners are away. All of the places being broken into have to have something in common.  I wracked my tiny brains trying to come up with something. But it couldn’t be something obvious, something the police would immediately think of. So that eliminated children all going to the same school; putting their dogs in the same kennel; using the same housesitter etc etc.

I was well into that book, approaching the climax and beginning to panic.  

I couldn't come up with anything that wasn't blindingly obvious, yet once the character thought of it would leap off the page as ‘of course’.

Not being able to come up with something credible would mean back to the drawing board and rewriting the subplot.

Out walking one day, I saw a poster on a telephone pole.

And that was it.

I knew it when I saw it.  I trusted myself as a writer to be able to solve my dilemma. And going for a long walk probably helped too!


Unknown said...

I often do that - literally walk away from the book and let myself off the hook. And once I do, I have the answer and it's like somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain I knew it all along.

Vicki Delany said...

The subconscious is an amazing thing, Clare.

Meredith Cole said...

Love the advice to "trust yourself" Vicki. Also think it's funny how much a walk (or a hike for Alan!) helps us all.