You know, I like to read one of my favorite "how-to write" books as I'm working on a new novel. This time it's The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers ">The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass. Last night I'm laying in bed reading his section on subplot, how it should have an impact on the main plot, the characters should have several touch points in their relationships, and so forth.
That's when it hit me out of the Kindle what I needed for my current WIP. All of a sudden, a fairly flat idea for my story took on life. I became excited about the project again. While I had intended for my current WIP, Time as This, to be a supernatural thriller, new elements sprang out of the subplot ideas that were racing through my mind (you know, it's hard to sleep when you've got racing subplots in your head...give it a try, you'll see what I mean).
My supernatural thriller suddenly developed components of a romance, a mystery, maybe even a hint of chick lit. And a really great novel should contain elements of just about every genre imaginable. And that's what the subplot does for us.
I don't want to reveal my book just yet. I think this one's a winner. Of course I do, or I wouldn't wear out my keyboard on it. But it's fun, even at forty-six, to feel myself growing as a writer. No, I never got to be the twenty-two year old wonder boy who sold a million copies of his first novel and lived the life forever after, but that's okay. Man, life begins when you live it. And I'm livin' it.
So thank you (again), Mr. Maass and all those other wonderful folks who've written books to help me write mine. I wish I could just remember all those little bits of advice you give without having to re-read your work once a year or so, but I'm glad it's there when I need it.
How about you? Do you have a how-to write book that you return to each time you start a new project?