Have you ever made a wrong turn only to discover a new restaurant or maybe a quiet little park you didn’t know existed? Sometimes things that feel wrong, or even are wrong, can lead to new, exciting or right things. This isn’t only true in the literal sense, but in writing too, as I often learn.
I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago that I was working on a new sub-plot thread. At the time I was surprised that this aspect of my heroine’s life hadn’t occurred to me before. As I was working out the elements of this ‘turn of events”, however I was finding myself less and less motivated to work on the book. It was easy to blame my lack of motivation on the super-crud virus that had invaded my system and sucked my motivation, but somehow, it felt deeper than that.
At this past weekends MVRWA meeting, a fellow member (Elizabeth Vaughan) mentioned that when she gets blocked, it’s because there is something wrong with the story. Immediately, the bells went off. I’ve noticed this tidbit to be true in my writing before. If there is an issue with the story, my brain begins to spin its wheels in the sand. When I sat down to write yesterday and couldn’t propel myself forward, I knew I had an error somewhere.
So, I closed my laptop and opened my mind. After some serious contemplation I realized that it was that brand new thread: the one that felt so obvious two weeks ago, was not only the wrong thing for this story, but it was the wrong thing to do to my characters. It complicated everything. Now, knowing that today I’m going to be pulling the thread out, my mind has been jumping with ways to move forward.
But does that mean the last two weeks have been a waste of time?
Not by a long shot.
1) I learned what doesn’t work.
2) I learned some important things about my characters in writing those wrong scenes.
3) I discovered where the story needs to go.
Little diversions in our writing process, like wrong turns on a journey, can lead to all sorts of surprising places.