Monday, October 8, 2012
Doing something Stupid...aka different
A few years ago, I listened to a motivational tape by the great motivational expert Tony Robbins. In the tape he talked about doing unexpected or unusual things to help yourself break a habit. If, for instance, you're trying to lose weight, he suggests you throw away all your fat clothes...except for one outfit...and wear that outfit every day. The thought is that eventually you will grow embarrassed enough or tired enough of the outfit that you'll get yourself to lose weight.
Sounds silly...but I think it could work. More important, I think the something silly idea actually works for writing.
Well, first off, if you get stuck and write the first silly thing that comes to mind...even if you can't use the scene, you've probably awakened your brain, broken your block or gotten yourself to think outside the box.
But what if you could use the scene? What if saying, What's the scariest thing that could happen right now...actually resulted in a good scene? Or what's the most romantic thing that could happen write now? The most emotional? The most thrilling? The most inspirational?
Sometimes we shy away from "the most." After all, we are building to a black moment...and you can't build by grabbing "the most" thrilling, romantic, scary, inspirational, emotional thing...Can you?
I once heard Janet Evanovich give a speech at at RWA conference. She said, Don't save anything for the next book. Put everything on the table in this book. Make this book great.
But what if you put that really emotional scene in the middle of the book...how are you going to escalate from that?
You may be surprised. And your book may be better for it.
Because everybody wants a great read. Not a mediocre read. A great read. So find your great scenes, the story's great moments and get them in. And work from there.
Putting yourself to the test in your book is sort of like throwing away all your fat clothes. Once you commit, you have no choice but to follow through! You might have to work a little harder, might have to think harder, might have to take your story to the next level...but what a book you'll end up with!