We’ve all had them – those ‘light bulb’ moments when you suddenly realise the solution to a tricky issue in your story, or when a character reveals something about themselves that you didn’t know before.
Occasionally those ‘yes’ moments come when you’re sitting at your computer, but, in my experience, many tend to happen when you’re doing something completely different. Some people say they get their best ideas in the shower, but mine tend to come when I’m washing the dishes – so there’s an advantage to not having dishwasher! Other times, a sudden idea can come into my mind while I’m driving, and I really think I should invest in one of those voice-activated recorders to capture those thoughts, in case I forget them before I have a chance to write them down. The same applies to those amazing ‘yes’ moments that always seem to happen as you are about to drop off to sleep. ‘I’ll remember that,’ you tell yourself in your last waking moment, but of course by next morning you’ve forgotten.
I’m lucky in that I have a ‘brainstorming partner’ who, although, or maybe because, she is a reader, not a writer, knows exactly the right questions to ask to turn my mind away from the tramlines on which it is stuck, and start thinking in a different direction. With Irish Intrigue, she did it with four words, “Or with the children”, at which point I raised a clenched fist with a rather loud response of ‘Yesss!’ which made everyone else in the pub restaurant where we were lunching looking round at us. A similar thing happened with Irish Secrets, my current WIP, when I needed someone to ‘find’ an important item. We discussed various possibilities while we finished our lunch, but it was that evening when she called me with an idea she’d thought of. At least this time I was in the privacy of my own study when I let out that yell of ‘Yesss!’
What have been your best ‘yes’ moments, and where and when did they occur to you?