Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sometimes getting distracted when you’re supposed to be working isn’t all bad

I’m supposed to be getting two graphic jobs out the door today (hence the tardiness of this post). With one late-arising change with one of them, I had to figure out how to fit the change in without knocking the whole hierarchy of the design into a cocked hat. For over an hour (with the clock ticking), I looked at the issue from every angle I could think of with no brilliant solution arising or even giving a whiff of its presence. Time to change task and let my subconscious work on it.

As I often do when spinning my wheels, I looked over the local newspaper websites for interesting news articles. One of them I glanced at included a link to an article on another website. That led to a third website. In the righthand column of that page was a teaser for an article on a fourth website that looked very intriguing.

About three paragraphs in, it hit me like the clichéd ton of bricks: the basis upon which I can build the first novel in the series I’ve been considering and actually writing scenes for (character development-type things). In actuality I’ve been waiting for some kind of inspiration to hit, sifting through promising plot ideas and either discarding them as too derivative or being more suited to later books in the series (and of course, keeping copious notes) – altogether a big assumption considering I don’t even have any publishing irons in the fire yet.

So this idea with which I’ve been struck? Sorry, I can’t tell you (it’s that juicy), but I can say that it’s about a new type of crime. God bless those inventive criminals minds for making it easy on us struggling crime writers.

Looking back, the whole situation is serendipitous in the extreme. I had drilled down four levels on the web to make my discovery. I wouldn’t even have been on the web if my client hadn’t requested that last-minute change. If I’d had a sudden inspiration on how to deal with the change, I wouldn’t have needed to distract myself. If it hadn’t been about to pour outside, I wouldn’t have even been in my studio, but out walking – my usual way un-conundrumming myself out of a problem.

It’s early days yet, but my new plot idea seems like it will work perfectly with the construct I’ve been developing for the way my new characters will interact and I don’t have to force some other (inferior) plot idea onto them in order to begin writing the book. It’s as if a hundred doors have just opened.

The stars lined up for me today in a huge way. Now if I could just push this job out the door, I could begin writing my magnum opus.

Perhaps I should also send my client a nice bottle of single malt.


Donis Casey said...

If it weren't for serendipity I'd never get a book finished at all.

Rick Blechta said...

I hear you.

Eileen Goudge said...

Some of the most fun adventures I've ever had were a result of my getting lost. I think the same is true of writing. Get lost, and you may find yourself in more interesting places than your planned destination.