Monday 4 July 2022

Talking Through Ideas & Hiccups - The Creative Process


I know we've all experienced that need to talk plot things through with people, and I know it's widely known that half the time you think up the solution while discussing and laying it out for people, but I still thought it would be a good topic for me to cover. After all, there are time when discussing through the ideas works, and other times when the hiccups that come along with plotting and such, need more nuance than just talking it through with someone.

In all my years as a writer, I have found that sometimes a good talk with a trusted friend is all you need to get the plot holes sorted. I've talked to multiple friends, but the two that really put up with it the most are my best friends, B and Kim. Both of them have experience with my writing, and writing in general and they both offer unique outputs as to what I should or shouldn't be doing. Kim, being a developmental editor, is more looking for how it effects the story as a whole. While B, being a line editor and avid reader, will hear me out and point out bits and pieces that might work. Both have helped me work out issues with my work, but in different ways.

I know the rubber duck solution for coders has been talked about a lot. The idea that just talking things out, explaining them to someone, or a rubber duck, aloud, can be enough to get those threads and ideas to pop up and allow you to sort the problem yourself. It's a valuable tool, and while I have been known to discuss them all with my cats, they don't give the ideas that my friends do.

So what do you need to do if you're stuck, blocked, or have a plot hole that you don't know how to fill, but aren't yet at the stage where you can hire an editor or send it over to a critique partner or the like? Cats are a good option, but as I said, they don't really offer much in advice. I have found that close friends, or family who have some idea what you write and where you might be trying to go, are the best option for me. While some people might have CPs who will be a goldmine of thoughts, and plot savers, I usually only send my book off when I've had the chance to read through it a few times, but if this works for you, there's certainly nothing wrong with it.
I do have a couple of tips though for when to start talking through things, and how to go about it!


If you've hit a block and you're not a planner of any kind, then it might be the right time to either have your CP read through what you have so far, or talk the whole plot with a friend or family member who is going to be able to offer you their valuable and honest opinion, that last one is the most important. After all you don't want to go to someone whose only comment is that it's amazing and wonderful and you should just keep writing. That doesn't actually help you or the book, so you need to be talking it through with someone who will actually help you with their thoughts.

When it comes to these parts of the process, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, or feel like you can't think of the answer. It's then that CPs play a massive part, because that's what they're there for. You need to be reaching out to them and asking, again, for genuine and honest feedback. It might be that you find something along the way that helps you solve a massive plot issue, and if that's the case, be sure to thank them, because they deserve it!

These are another great source for talking through ideas and hiccups. They may not have all the answers, but if you have a good relationship with your betas, it might be that they're willing to discuss a plot hole and offer some hints or suggestions of how to change to for the better. All of the people you can approach need to be ones that will give you an honest answer. You don't need smoke blown up your butt, just the truth and maybe a nudge in how to fix it. And then you're golden!

So those are my thoughts on the matter, what's your thinking about talking through ideas and such? Lemme know in the comments!

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