I’ve been told that people like it when authors share writing tips, so I’ve starting doing that on my Instagram page. But today, I wanted to go into more detail than I tend to on those posts and talk about one of the things I do when I’m trying to work out specifics for a story idea, so I thought I’d write a quick blog post.

I’ve been working on a particular arc for book four for a few weeks now, and wrestling with how I want Team Arcania to learn something they need for this new quest they’re going to be going on. And I’ve played with a couple of different possibilities for a new character who could give them the info, but wasn’t loving either of the ideas I had. So I skipped over that part and moved on to other scenes. But that really critical scene has been sitting in the back of mind like an irritating thorn, taunting me with the fact that I just haven’t been able to figure it out.

Now, one of the thing I will often do when working on a story is go out for a walk. I try and get out for a walk every day, in fact. But it’s been pouring on and off for the past two days where I live and this morning there was still some light rain, with a wind chill of -1C (that’s about 30F for you non-metric folks out there). In other words, it was cold, wet, windy and uninviting and I was sorely tempted to just make another cup of tea and stay in.

And stare at my uncooperative manuscript.

But I really do enjoy my walks, so I steeled myself and out I went.

And it was invigorating, even if I did get soaked.

And I had the whole world to myself because sensible people don’t go out in this kind of weather, so I could just walk and think and plan and plot (stories, not global domination plans — I leave those to my cat.) My favourite kind of walk. (Not going to lie, I get resentful when I have to share my walking paths with anyone other than my kids, especially when I’m trying to work out a plot issue for a story! 😂)

And on my planning and plotting walk today, I came up with a fantastic story arc for a new character I came up with the seeds of an idea for earlier this morning. This arc adds a whole new depth to the backstory for some of the other characters you already know and love and it solves my how-to-get-the-kids-the-info-they-need conundrum, so I’m really excited about it. The first thing I did when I got back was fire up my Scapple software and start jotting notes about this new character and how I wanted to fit it all in to the next couple of books.

This new idea may not make it through all the revising rounds that will come after the first draft is finished, but right now it is really helping to get other ideas flowing which will help move the story further along, whether this character idea ends up getting used or not.

And that’s story-writing gold.

So, that’s my tip for you today: go take a walk. When you’re stuck with your writing, go do something else; preferably something that gets you moving, but leaves your mind free to wander. And hopefully, that will help shake those cobwebs loose and get your words flowing again. 😊

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