I had a plot problem today. I needed to up the stakes for my character but also not weaken the surprise at the end. I went around and around in my head trying different scenarios, but nothing really worked. So I went outside my little writing box and the answer magically appeared.
In this case, I called a writer friend, one of my beta readers, and bounced ideas off her. By the end of the conversation I had my solution and thanked her huge. My friend replied, “You do realize I didn’t do anything, don’t you?” But oh contrare! Sure, I came up with the idea in the end, but I couldn’t have done it without that conversation.
When you’re spending too much time in the words of your page, sometimes it’s good to get out. My best solutions for plotting and character problems usually come when I’m walking my dog, having a shower, dreaming (and that’s why I have a notebook by my bed) and talking things through. Talking to myself sometimes works, and talking to my dog does too, although she thinks I’m a looney by now.
But as long as I have friends who can be sounding boards, I know I’ll be able to solve any problem.
Where do you get your ideas?