In my book on writing, The Writers Little Book with Big Ideas, I talk about the different stages of writing and the importance of the stage I label, Pause.
At the moment I'm taking my own advice, trying to let my unconscious sort out some snags in the plot of the crime book I'm writing. I'm two drafts in and by and large I'm happy with the outline of the story but having finished the second draft just before I went to Scarborough it gave me a space to let ideas start to emerge.
Oddly something occurred to me as I was listening to one of the sets. All the players were excellent, well regarded in the jazz field and the sound was beautiful; a flautist took centre stage. But it didn't move me; I felt no connection and wondered why. I was about to write it off as me with cloth ears and then... we had an encore.
A superb saxophonist was added to the mix, and that sharp, at times dissonant sound ignited the music. Totally different dynamic in the group and I felt the emotional tug of the music. Fascinating.
Returning to the novel draft last week, some thoughts surfaced and I started the What If questioning.
What if that character didn't or did know this?
What if they missed something happening by a whisker - you know the kind of thing, going down one street rather than another.
And then the ideas for the 'dissonance' became more solid. I had this image of a horse jumping competition where some deceptively simple obstacles were the most difficult?
I've still got to write the new bits but I can see the way now. Thanks to the creative unconscious prodding me.
Last week at a networking event I met two people who had started books. Without trying to put them off, I wanted to say, the start's the easy bit! But both theirs were non-fiction and I do believe those are easier in creating a structure to follow.
Over the summer I've been to quite a few author events and the bottom line is, there is no perfect, one size fits all approach to writing fiction. Depends on your temperament and your experience. The more you do, the more you learn.
As with all activities, the only way to gain experience is to do it. Build muscle, whether it's physiotherapy exercises(which I'm undergoing at present) or writing.
Not sure what is the writing equivalent of the squat but that's the one causing me aching legs at the moment.