24 June 2014

Why Can't I Have All the Good Ideas?

Last week I mentioned my beta readers, and how they collectively pointed out that my main character was being, well, a bit too Bella from New Moon.

This was a wonderful catch, and I’m already working to fix it. First four chapters have been rewritten, and Lys only complains once—and I feel she is quite justified in it.

Another awesome thing about beta readers, is that they’re not you.

You see, I have this problem. Maybe it’s a complex, but I always feel like the ideas for my books must all come from me. All of them. Plot points, character issues, settings…all must originate in my mind if they are to be in my book.

Getting married has put a damper on this for me. You see, my husband has what I call a gerbil brain. His mind goes around and around all the time, powered by a little gerbil on a wheel who never, ever gets tired. I come up with one awesome idea, “Hey honey, what if I have one of the Babes in Spyland do this?”

He’ll smile, say it’s a good idea, then come back between five and thirty seconds later with six other ideas that could be used independently or added on top of my idea.

Granted, some of his aren’t all that great. He’s too much of a nerd and I don’t write hard core sci-fi.

But it never fails to make me grit my teeth together when he comes up with something good. That I know I should use. That isn’t really mine.


I’m working through this little problem. I feel like I’m making progress, because this is what one of my beta readers pointed out.

Let me preface that my main character has been lamenting her lack of offensive abilities with her magic. Because I’m into martial arts, in my mind offensive means being at the front line, punching stuff. At this point in the story, she’s just used her magic to look through an entire village in just a few seconds, and now she knows exactly where she’s going.

This is the line from my book:
Is this what having super powers felt like? Should her magic feel like this? Because a map in her head after six seconds of looking was pretty cool.

This is what my beta reader said.
Which is why she would be a great asset away from fighting…which after 6 months someone should have pointed out to her. Seriously, intel is just as important as the take down people, and intel can save the take-down people.

Duh! I’m a duh head. My mind just hadn’t gone in that direction. But after I read that, my brain kind of exploded. 

What had my main character been doing for the past 6 months? She isn’t stupid, she’d be finding ways to use what she had.  Which gave me a much better direction for my character, and an inner conflict that doesn’t involve more lamenting than action.

I still grumble about not being able to come up with all of the brilliant ideas (some days I’m pretty sure I don’t come up with anything brilliant), but I realize that other people have ideas that can help me too.

1 comment:

Jonathan Stringer said...

I have a gerbil brain?! It's true, it never shuts off.