Dredging up Ideas
I spent a lot of time in the morning looking out of my window. If I hadn’t been so stuck with the next scene of my novel, I wouldn’t have noticed how many times the dredge left the harbour. It just kept on going, digging up tonnes of material, dumping it out at sea, and then coming back for more. Unlike me, who was going nowhere.
So I took inspiration from the dredge’s persistence. I burrowed into what I had already written, looking for anything that was still a bit general, and I asked myself ‘why’. ‘Why’ is my protagonist in a meditation group? ‘Why’ is she a photographer? ‘Why’ does she hate action movies so passionately?
All the answers to these ‘whys’ were in her past. And weirdly, the deeper I dug into the specifics of her past, the clearer my protagonist’s future became. What evolved wasn’t so much a character bio but a series of past events that were directly related to the present, and these sparked the future events I now can’t wait to write.
I didn’t notice the dredge at all in the afternoon. So if you get to a point in your novel where you’re stuck, try going backwards. And forwards, and backwards, and forwards, and…