Do you write while doing the dishes?
Or running on the treadmill?
When I get into a story or I’m stuck on a plot problem, it haunts my head. I’m thinking about it all the time.
We’re chatting at preschool dropoff, but I’m thinking of various undetectable poisons (that the murderer used to kill the victim. In my book.)
I’m watching Spongebob after dinner wondering why the good guy spouse cheats on his wife.
It’s a sickness.
I have a character who’s in a happy marriage, but in his head he starts to wonder if it’s actually falling apart. His wife works long hours and doesn’t seem interested in his big accomplishments at work – or him, really. Her best friend just ended her marriage after 15 years. Then the MC gets assigned to a big project in Italy where he has an affair with his young, beautiful Italian assistant.
Now, while that plot line doesn’t immediately lend itself to a comedy, let alone a romantic comedy (and I assure you, it is both – read two sample chapters HERE and decide for yourself) the real problem is: why the heck does he do that?
Well, why did the bad guy in the James Bond movie want to take over the world?
And why did the butler murder… you know; whoever it is butlers are always murdering?
Easy. Because without it, we have no story.
I understand that statistics will show a certain percentage of husbands cheat on their wives, and vice versa. I’ll probably do a little research into the common reasons spouses cheat. And I’ll be deleting my internet history after I do. Just like I did about the poisons.
In the meantime, I’ll be ruminating on a good (for my story) reason he cheats, and a good (for my story) reason she takes him back. If she does. I’ve been known to occasionally write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants at times. Pantsers, they call that.
And, while it’s kinda bugging me, I don’t really want to do that research. I anticipate feeling the need for a shower afterward, or being disappointed in the human race when I learn what’s inside those stats.
But my head is swimming with possibilities, trying to figure it out on its own.
So, as I was mowing the lawn, I was working away on my book, trying to justify the unjustifiable and to forgive the unforgivable.
Maybe Oprah did a show on it that I can Google. I don’t think Spongebob’s got any insights here.
That’s what we do as authors, isn’t it? Create impossible scenarios so we can rack our brains untwisting them.
Authors write about murder all the time (for proof, chick HERE); that doesn’t make them killers. So, to the sink full of pots and pans. With each knife we pick up, the doomed character gets stabbed to death again.
But how does the villain get away with it? (So we can have a sequel.)
We’ll figure it out while washing the dishes. Because they aren’t going to wash themselves.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure” – yeah, we know. We tried to convince him to change that title. He’s sticking with it. Check out his other works HERE and check back often for interesting stuff.