Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Which Little Kids Help Plot

For the past few weeks, I've been babysitting from 8 to 5, three days a week. I honestly never thought that watching two kids, both of which are under five, would help me with my writing. I noticed something about children that I had never noticed before. Little kids ask questions. A lot.

These kids in particular love asking 'why?'. They probably ask me why something occurs in response to 75% of the things I say. Them asking tons of questions helps me SO MUCH with my writing, which is good because I haven't been writing recently so I need all the help I can get. Hearing all the questions every day has made it so they're, in a way, ingrained in my brain. During those rare moments that I am writing, asking myself why something happened and what the consequences are, helps me out of my writing slumps. For example (this is totally off the top of my head)-

Plot 'seed'- The chicken crossed the road.
Why- To get to the other side.
Why- Because he had a hot date with a cute chick.
How did that happen- He was arguing with the supermarket clerk about how selling eggs was supporting cannibalism and then the chick joined in and said that she prefers the tofu eggs over the real ones.
Why- Because she agrees with the chicken and doesn't want to participate in cannibalism. She also has fond memories of sitting around her family Hanukkah bush, eating tofu eggs on toast and singing Hanukkah carols.

When I'm writing, I've recently taken to doing stuff like that. I actually started a document where I have conversation-type things with my characters in which I 'ask' them why they make the choices they do. I know that a lot of people ask themselves these questions on instinct, but I never really did- except for when I would do it subconsciously.

So that is something new I've discovered about my writing process recently. When writing/plotting, do you ask yourself questions? Are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person? Are you caught in the middle between the two? Also, has a little kid ever inspired any part of your writing? Tell me in the comments!