Many writers come to the point in their manuscript where they don’t know where to go. It has happened to me several times, occasionally in the same book. So, what do you do when this happens? For me, setting the book aside helps, but then I find it harder to pick up later, knowing where I left off.
Where does that leave us? While writing His Perfect Game, I encountered one such moment. I needed the character to hear one snippet of information. Writing an scene with two sentences wouldn’t work, and the pointless conversation I came up with was boring. Ready to toss the whole thing in the trash, I called one of my critique partners.
I now have a new respect for brainstorming. The thirty minute phone conversation was enlightening. Not only did our tossed out ideas help me move forward, but I found inspiration for other places as well. Another gem I discovered was the key to pulling a manuscript out of tricky places. It is one phrase.
She asked me “What is the worst that can happen?” I laughed and jokingly tossed out a situation. Instead of her laughing with me, she remained silent and my mind raced. I realized my random remark would move the story forward and give some additional conflict.
Now, putting our characters through the worst things we can imagine isn’t the way to treat our friends, but conflict is important in a book. Without it, the story would be boring. In addition, how the characters overcome obstacles shape them and allows the reader to have a deeper understanding of them.
So, just remember that one small question, and tell me:
What’s the worst that can happen?