The Effect of Water and Walking (or, Brainstorming)

For the past month, I’ve been fiddling with a particularly difficult novel.  It’s in a genre new to me (YA – but with no paranormal element), and it concerns an issue that is intensely important to me (bullying).  I’ve been fighting to find ways to write that aren’t preachy, aren’t boring, and — most of all — aren’t dated.  I am terrified that I’ll sound like a mumble-mumble-years-old woman, droning on from my soapbox.

As a consequence, I’ve written the first three chapters of this book a half dozen times.

And then, while I was in the shower this morning, I was attacked by a dozen ideas.  All of a sudden, I saw how I could shape the narrative.  I understood how I could handle some of the voices.  I *got* what I’d been trying to do all along.

I don’t know what took me so long.  I should have been standing in that shower until my fingers turned into little prunes.  I should have been the cleanest woman in the world.

Because I *know* that I get good writing ideas in the shower.  I get them when I’m swimming laps, too.  And when I’m walking.

I’ve read articles that explain how each of these activities allows the conscious mind to disconnect, allows automatic action to take over, so that ideas get the chance to bubble to the surface.  I don’t know if that’s true — I just know that it works.

And now, I’m off to write.  A lot.  Because this time, it seems like everything is on track.  Finally.

So — for you writers, what activities help you to break through the logjams of writing?  And for you readers — what books, genre or not, have worked for you on an emotional basis, even when they have a heavy moral message?

Mindy, musing


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  1. 1. Marlene Dotterer

    I wish I had a tried-and-true method. For me, the right idea only comes after weeks of agonizing over it. Usually I just skip over the troublesome part and continue with story. Sometimes, this adds context to the problem and I can see a way through it. Or I’ll finish the book and have to go back and just force a solution. These eventually get cleaned up during critiques or edits, but I don’t always have an “aha” moment.

  2. 2. S.C. Butler

    Walking works for me. It really works. But I have to be out for at least an hour, and I have to be walking hard. And I think it was easier when I was walking in the city and didn’t have to think about anything. Now that I live in the country, and have to pay attention to the traffic because there are no sidewalks, I don’t think I’m able to disconnect as easily.


  1. SFNovelists Post — The Effect of Water and Walking | Mindy Klasky, Author

Author Information

Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is the author of eleven novels, including WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD and HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH in the As You Wish Series. She also wrote GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL, and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL, about a librarian who finds out she's a witch. Mindy also wrote the award-winning, best-selling Glasswrights series and the stand-alone fantasy novel, SEASON OF SACRIFICE. Visit site.



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