Is your work in progress in a slump? Here are six techniques to help you come up with some fresh, new ideas.
1. Sniff Something! Your sense of smell connects directly to where your brain stores emotional memories. Think about smells you associate with specific events or people—your grandmother’s perfume for example, or a camping trip. Better yet, sniff things—herbs, spices, flowers, cologne. See if they evoke your own memories.
Visit some of these “smelly places” and think about how they might fit into your WIP:
fertilizer aisle in a garden center
2. Borrow a Character’s Personality. Share this activity with a writer friend. Plan an outing where each of you take on the personality of a character in your works in progress. React and interact as your characters might. Along with having loads of fun you will get deep inside your characters’ heads and come away with a fresh perspective.
Have lunch in a restaurant you haven’t been to.
Do a project together.
Take a short road trip to an unfamiliar destination without using a GPS.
3. Read Fiction Outside Your Genre. Pay attention to how characters react and interact in the situations they face. While you read ask yourself:
How would the characters in my current work in progress react if they faced the same situations?
Could I borrow a situation from this book to create a plot twist in my current work?
4. Watch TV shows from the 60s and 70s. Television writers from the 60s and 70s created entertaining stories with straightforward plots, interesting characters and witty dialogue. Watch shows from these decades to discover ideas for your WIP. Find these and more on YouTube and other online sources:
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Andy Griffith Show
The Twilight Zone
5. Think Like a Kid. When your plot gets complicated, your characters might act out or act addled in ways you don’t expect. It’s enough to make you threaten to delete your work in progress and start over. Stop! You might be stuck because you’re trying too hard. Get back to the basics by allowing yourself to think like a kid.
Get to the root of your plot. How might a ten-year-old describe the story?
What adjectives might an eight-year-old use to describe each of your characters?
6. Be Your Character’s Therapist. Imagine that you are a therapist and your character is your client. Work to unravel the confusion in your character’s head. Sit down with that unruly character and ask him or her to explain what he or she is feeling and why.
What other methods have you used
to get your work-in-progress
out of a slump?
Please share by leaving a comment.
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