I saw the following question in a LinkedIn “Writers’ Hangout” group this afternoon:
Any effective writing habits you’d like to add to the list?
…and wrote the following response:
This is going to sound strange, but it actually happened about a month ago. I was struggling with a scene that needed a logical way for a third party to stop one of the major characters from coming at his brother with a knife. They were on the roof when the brother who was being attacked called out to their father on the ground. That’s as far as I could get. From where he was, the father couldn’t reach them in time. I also couldn’t have him turn on the faucet and point the hose at him, because it wouldn’t be enough force.
So I got up and went outside to clear my head. I wanted to pick some apples to feed the horses I would see when I took a walk later that afternoon, so I picked a few from my apple tree…that was fairly close to the house… and then it hit me! I ran back into the house and went straight to my keyboard. The father wasn’t on the ground, he was on a ladder – picking apples. When his son caught his attention and he saw him in danger, the father threw an apple with all his might and the force stunned his other son. I don’t need to tell you the ending, right? Just how the story fell into place so easily.
Never underestimate the power of your subconscious to work out things in your story when you get stuck.