I’ve been spending a lot of time with my scribbling notebook this month.
This is the place where I work out plot problems. Some people use white boards, some use index cards or Scrivener. For me, working it out visually and long hand is the way to go.
I hang on to my notebooks after the book is written. It’s reassuring to remind myself that, even with some of my most successful stories, I didn’t know what I was doing at the time but eventually figured it out. For example, here’s the thought process that led to me deciding who would rescue Riley Pendragon from his cell in the Dulac basement in The Inquisitor’s Mark.
Some lessons I have learned from my scribbling:
- The obvious path is the least interesting. Complications and reversals make for a better story.
- Cut the things that delay information getting to your characters and readers.
- Whichever path provides the most pain and trouble for your protagonist is the one you want.
- Sometimes I’m asking the wrong question, and that’s why I can’t move forward.
- The thing I thought was going to happen next is the wrong thing to do, and my subconscious knew that all along, which is why I ended up in the scribbling notebook in the first place.
What’s your brainstorming method?