Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Story Whisperer

Sometimes you are writing a story and you come to a place where it doesn't work.

Or the plot that you thought you were writing, doesn't make sense anymore. Or it has a bunch of plot holes that you didn't foresee and you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and you SEE them-- all huge and dark and glaringly obvious.

Or the characters sound too much like each other. Or you're not sure who they really are or what they want (or don't want). Or they do things for the sake of the plot--because you WANT them to do those things, but one day you're walking your dog and suddenly it hits you that your characters would never do that or say that and OH MY GOD how the hell are you going to fix this?? 

Or your characters do something totally unexpected that you did not see coming and now you know it's the right thing for them to do, but that would mean ripping apart half the book to make it work and the thought of doing that freaks you out.




You've reached a wall, is what I am trying to say. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO NEXT.

So, if this is You--stumbling, spinning, whirring, questioning, struggling, freaking the hell out over a story-writing problem, I am here to give you the solution...

The Story Whisperer

Ha ha. There is no such person. 

But wouldn't it be awesome, if there were? I picture her as a kindly, somewhat older lady-- not the vixen-like young Muse of the Greeks. The Story Whisperer wears an over-sized comfy sweater and pajama bottoms and furry slippers. She rarely combs her hair. She can be a little crotchety. Sometimes you'll catch a glimpse of her putzing around in the background. Like a shadow. 

The Story Whisperer knows how stories are put together. Every plot variation, every knotted twisted story arc, the dead ends and false starts, the duds, the clich├ęs. She's seen it all. She's got story strands woven into her over-sized comfy sweater and in the poofs of her poofy slippers. 

For a small fee (Pride) you bow down before her and pray for a whisper of her wisdom. 

Please, dear Story Whisperer, is what you say. I need your help. 

The next steps are guaranteed to work. Shhhh. Listen, and I will whisper them to you:

*Write out your question, your problem, all  of your story-writing tangles. (You must hand write this. In pencil.) 

*Now, go for a walk. Or take a shower. Or wash the dishes. Or if it's an extremely difficult problem, take a nap...

*Here's the tricky part: let the problem go. It's not yours anymore. It's the Story Whisperer's. Don't fear. She's got ya' covered. 

*Later that day (or next week--for the extremely difficult problem listed above) OPEN YOUR MANUSCRIPT.

And watch, as the answer, in whispery bits and pieces comes to you, like magic it was there all along.  

Advice from the Story Whisperer


  1. Love this advice! I will have to try it next time I'm stuck. (Probably tomorrow....)

  2. Whoa, intense an much needed today as I rework the age group of rmy sort out on submission, TY, Jody.

    1. You're welcome. You've got this, Kathy. I know it <3

  3. Yes, hand writing makes such a difference! It usually takes me a few pages of writing total crap before I stumble onto a potential solution. :)