For the last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with mainly small problems in my current novel. (Though some felt large at the time).
When I hit a larger problem (mostly just to keep my mind locked around it), I’ve been using two old tricks. The first (one I don’t often use, actually) is just to start typing my thoughts as quickly as I can think them.
When I teach kids to solve problems and generate ideas, I’ll sometimes throw this at them under a variety of guises, and it can work.
My favorite, however, has long been “mind mapping”. I’m a natural doodler and I like to be able sketch out connections. I find that even the doodling itself helps to keep my teeth in the problem as I worry away at it. My mind maps are often loaded with sketches and almost always dabbed with blobs of grey and colour.
I had a good old-fashioned half hour bash at a plot problem today and, for the heck of it, took a picture. That’s the image heads this post. The one in the pic is actually pretty simple. I started to find a vein of connected ideas that seemed to work for me. But, it’s a big piece of paper and much of the ink is blue.
So there. Now you know.