I am lucky enough to belong to several local writing groups whose members offer their opinion on various WIP (works in progress) I bring to the table each month. What I love about these groups is the diversity of experience and readership and how that informs the feedback each person offers.
It’s happened a few times now that a member will ask me a “did you consider” or “what if” question that at first glance I let go by the way-side. However, I never abandon suggestions 100%. I find myself re-asking those questions over the course of the following weeks and playing with the ideas in my head.
Now, half the time it doesn’t amount to anything except a good mental workout, but the other half of the time something wonderful happens – I change my mind.
In the Urban Fantasy/Supernatural YA book I’m currently writing called “The Hollow Kiss”, the main character Dray (18 yrs) freaks out at something on her walls when she opens her eyes in the morning, with what she thinks is a hangover. Her mother rushes upstairs to see if she’s alright, realizes that she is and probably had a nightmare, then leaves again. I was simply asked by a colleague, “What would happen if her mother came back upstairs?”
It seems so simple doesn’t it?
He knew nothing about the rest of the story – how I planned to have a family intervention 1/2 way through the book because of Dray’s strange behaviour and yet… I realized that if her mother did come back upstairs in that first chapter, she would see her daughter scrubbing at nothing on her bedroom walls, muttering to herself… What a great first indicator that something wasn’t right with her daughter! And what doting mother wouldn’t check in a second time?
It took me nearly two weeks of playing with the idea to finally realize the genius in it.
So, my advice to you is to always keep an open mind. Even if something doesn’t “ring true” at first listen, turn it around in your mind and try to see the “what if” factor. You never know, it just might add that extra bit you never knew you were missing 😉