Lots of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night. I keep a notebook beside the bed just for occasions like this, and it’s always fun in the morning to see what I scribbled by the light of my cell phone at 3 am. Sometimes, the ideas are brilliant–the solution to a problem I’d been having comes to me in a flash as I try to fall asleep, or I wake up with an idea for a great new scene.
Sometimes, though, the idea seemed a lot better while I was half asleep, or worse, it’s nothing more than a bunch of words strung together that mean absolutely nothing.
The other day, I had one that I’m not sure about. It’s either the stupidest thought I’ve ever had, or the most brilliant.
I woke up in the middle of the night sure that I’d solved any problem I’d ever had with my writing. My book was now going to be so much better. All I had to do?
Make the awesome parts of the book awesomer, and get rid of all the parts that aren’t awesome.
On one hand, um, DUH. But on the other hand, this is such good advice. That chapter where my MC is in the library looking at family history books–the chapter I never want to work on because I find it kind of boring? Stop working on it. Just get rid of it. It’s not awesome, and not getting that much awesomer. And if I combine the chapter with the pretty-awesome relationship-building with the pretty-awesome action in the next chapter? Way MORE awesome.
So actually, I think that sleep-idea was brilliant after all.