Early Morning Brainstorming (or, The Pitfalls of Sleep Deprivation)

"Fuck you Science" (Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street)

"Fuck you Science" (Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street)

There's a thrill, a rush, that comes when brainstorming a novel. One of my favorite things about the process is when all the thoughts you've had swirling around in your head start really taking shape, mingling with each other, and become these solid storylines that have yet to be written, but are already so visceral to you. 

By my nature, I am not a plotter. I've talked about this before, but when it comes down to it, I lose interest if I try to stick too literally to an outline - even if it's as little as me hitting the major beats of each chapter, no matter how much my characters try to stray.  I've heard recently that a reason a lot of plans fail, whether it's dieting or writing, is that when you tell someone you're going to do something that's good for you, they will (generally) give you positive feedback for the mere idea rather than any results. At that moment, you get that sense of accomplishment and the rush of endorphins, even though you haven't done anything and it's suddenly less appealing. Your body and friends have given you the reward and you didn't have to do a damned thing!

I bring that up because that's what plotting does to me. If I write out a comprehensive outline, even if it's only chapter-by-chapter one sentence ideas,  I lose interest in the project. One of the main reasons is that I feel like I've already experienced it, but the other is that I know, as cheesy as it sounds, my characters are going to do something stupid and throw a wrench in the works and then all that work is gone. It's the reason I also write everything linerally, because if I try to connect scenes that are perhaps dozens of page apart, by the time I bridge that gap, the characters are going to be in wildly different areas and I'l just have to reconfigure or throw away the previous work.

All that being said, I've resolved to finish editing one of my past novels so I can get another book out (not saying which one) before writing a new book. I've definitely run into the trap that my ex-wife snagged on, in that it's a lot easier to write something new than it is to make what you've written readable and good. Hell, I'm not shooting for amazing or anything: I just want it to make sense and flow. My ideas are weird enough as it is that developmental editing does nothing for me. As long as it's cohesive and I enjoy it, I'm confident it'll find its audience. 

However, I'm still caught by these flashes of inspiration when it comes to the next novel. This morning, at 4:30 am, I woke from an hour nap (unfortunately) and proceeded to write multipe pages of notes, basically having silent conversations with myself on the page regarding ideas and where the story could go. I'm not even done, but with, along with being exhausted and having a migraine, I'm jumping between multiple pages and apps trying to keep myself focused.

It just goes to show that inspiration strikes at the most unlikely of times.


Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.