kay, so this one has uses beyond normal writing, but I’m putting it in a writing context because that’s what we do here.
Plotting a novel is difficult. I’m at a point in Tubitz and Mergenstein where a lot is going on. And suddenly I wasn’t sure how to do a bridge scene, so they could discover who the pilots of a mythical gunship were – how could that be twined into the action so it would be exciting, logical, and interesting? I needed a gotcha moment.
I thought and thought about it in the coarse of my day and got nowhere. But that was the problem – it was only my day.
In this, I fell back on my most interesting (and strange) technique – I thought about it at night.
Sure, our thoughts are extinguished in deathlike emptiness at night, perhaps becoming moments like that horror of standing in your high school hallway with no clothing on. But your mind is still churning, still working, connecting things you might not have considered. Often, when faced with something as complex as a interwoven plot line, I find it helpful to go to bed and lie there, not desperately thinking of what-to-do-what-to-do, but just replaying the story through vague imagery – my own internal moviehouse. Don’t keep yourself awake doing this. Just drift off with your stalled plot playing over and over.
It’s nothing you can bet on. Often I’ll wake up and realize I was in high school again, my brow covered in cold sweat. Fine. If that happens, just let it go. Think about the story over the day (because you might just come up with your scene while in a meeting or in the car or can). The next night, go through your evening quietly, perhaps taking a walk. Try to stay away from books and movies – those are other people’s plots. Just go to sleep thinking over your story.
Sometimes when I do this, I’ll wake up and there it is, that moment, that scene, that action series, that leads from what has been written to what is to come. For this, always keep a notepad handy. As soon as you can, write everything you dreamed about down. Trust me – something that came to you as true and perfect will fade. No joke – it simply slides away. So write it down. Before breakfast and certainly before the morning paper. Even before your morning toiletry. Write it down.
And there it is. Your perfect scene. It was right there, all the time, in your subcouncscious.