Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brainstorming (aka Why One Should Listen to One's Main Character)

Me: Hola, Salva.

Salva: Hi.

Me: It’s good to hear from you.

Salva: You know perfectly well why you haven’t been hearing from me.

Me: Yes, well, our followers don’t. So . . . let’s not mention that OK.

Salva: I’m not stupid.

Me: No, but maybe a bit defensive.

Salva: Maybe.

Me: Look, I need your help.

Salva: You should probably ask Beth.

Me: I’m asking you.

Salva: (sigh) All right. ¿Qué es?

Me: I'm moderating a panel for Wordstock in the first week of October, and I’m supposed to create the questions. It’s a panel on writing realistic young adult fiction.

Salva: Uh-huh.

Me: And I need some assistance coming up with questions.

Salva: You’re sure you don’t want to ask Beth?

Me: I’m asking you.

Salva: OK. So there’s your standard: “Why did you choose to write a contemporary novel?”

Me: Because you told me I had to.

Salva: I thought we were brainstorming questions, not answers.

Me: Right.

Salva: And what are the challenges of writing contemporary fiction?

Me: You mean like your refusing to go home.

Salva: Yes. Like that. And you can’t blame me; can you?

Me: I suppose not.

Salva: And what is the best thing about writing realistic fiction?

Me: Hmm.

Salva: You’re thinking we should ask Beth for help.

Me: Yeah, sort of.

Salva: Beth?

Beth: You should ask “How do the challenges of writing contemporary fiction differ from the challenges of writing other genres such as fantasy, historical fiction, or sci-fi?” and “How do you balance the need to create a real world while remaining within the fictional realm?” and “Do you think the impact of a contemporary novel is more immediate than that of other genres because of the immediacy of the time period?” and “What are your favorite contemporary novels by other YA authors?” and “What drew you toward writing contemporary fiction in the first place?”

Me: Gracias, Beth.

Beth: You’re welcome.

Salva: (grinning) You see?

Me: OK, you were right.

Salva: Claro.

Me: So, readers, any other ideas?


  1. I am alway curious about this. What inspires you when you hit the writer's block wall?

  2. Thanks, Meredith, I'll keep that in mind when I revamp my questions.