When Lightning Strikes

I felt a bit like Dr Frankenstein today – raising my paddles above my WIP and infusing it with life.  It was a heady mad-scientist moment and I’ve been coasting on the rush all day.  So how did it happen?  And more to the point am I going to be able to recreate it?

In the spirit of experimentation I’ve noted down my learned observations:

1. Chase the Storm.

You’re unlikely to be hit by lightning unless the conditions are right.  So rather than wait for inspiration to strike – strap on your wet weather gear and go after it.  After struggling with flat scenes I finally stepped back and had a look at the big picture.  Only then was I able to see a few gaping plot holes. My typical outlines weren’t working so I invested in a stack of note cards and attacked the holes a layer at a time.  One brainstorming session, a few key pieces of information and I was back in business.  You’ve seen those storm chasers (on TV right?) – they always looked so pumped.  Well prepare to wind the windows down and stick your head out into the rain…

2. Open your Eyes.

Sometimes the answer is there is if you really look.  For me I’d forgotten to ask why the troublesome scene was crucial to the main plot.  I’d been trying to achieve a lot of things, but what I needed to establish was a connection between two characters in a short space of time.  It had to be insignificant enough for them to brush it off as a chance encounter, yet strong enough for one of them to recognise the other and act later on in the story.  It was also an early chapter, the first time we encounter two POV characters, so there was a fair amount of world building going on too.  The answer came like a bolt from the blue.  They were from different worlds (culturally) so have one act against stereotype and have the other wonder why.  Once I really started looking out of the characters eyes, and feeling what life was like for them a whole lot of things about their lifestyle made sense and my scene really came alive.

3. Enjoy the Show.

When it all comes together there is nothing more satisfying than sitting back and enjoying it.  Even though I was working, I was also loving reading this brand new storyline as it was born.  Little things I’d wondered about had more meaning than I’d originally anticipated.  I even discovered another character (already written in book three) was in this scene as a child.   Funnily enough even that little detail answered a question I was yet to tackle at the end of the book.  There were many such moments, most of them quite small, but hugely satisfying to see them come together.

4. Build a Weather Machine.

Can I do it again? Can every writing day be as bright and highly charged as this?  I don’t know but I’ll certainly keep trying to recreate the elements.  I love my story and as long as it continues to captivate me I don’t see why not.  Character motivation, tying things into the overall story and keeping an eye on the details have all helped this week.  I can feel the charge building already.

How about you?  Where are you at in the writing process – fully charged and plowing through?  Or waiting for the next bolt of inspiration to strike?

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