It’s no secret I’ve had some issues with the dreaded writer’s block this year. There’s been assorted reasons for it that I’ve mentioned elsewhere. My latest has been the fact that I’m up to my eyeballs in course planning and lecture writing. Rather than make myself crazy trying to juggle the two and switch back and forth between academic explain stuff voice and fiction, I opted to just hold off on starting Edge of Shadow until I finished with the lectures. So it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written any fiction, short of the blueprint planning I’ve been doing for assorted future projects. I’ve been doing really well, getting 9 out of 12 lectures written so far, plowing through a whole lecture a day this week.
In yesterday’s lecture I was dealing with theories and research on operant conditioning, among them response deprivation theory which says (and I’m overly simplifying here without giving you the “benefit” of the lengthy explanation and experimental examples my students are getting) that behavior becomes reinforcing when the organism is prevented from engaging in it. I have prevented myself from writing, ergo today I got slapped in the head with yet ANOTHER plot idea. What appears to FINALLY be the actual SHORT STORY that I’ve been wanting to write as a freebie for almost a year. There you have it, behaviorist principles in daily life!
It’s a spin-off of Forsaken By Shadow, following Micajah Guidry, the bartender and BFF of my hero Gage. Trouble walks into his bar in the form of Sophia Hayden, an IED agent on a mission. She’s traced her quarry as far as Le Loup Garou, and when Mick doesn’t just hand him over, she threatens to shut him down and hand him over to the Council on all sorts of semi-trumped up charges (Mick, he skates just this side of legal based on both human and Mirus laws). So to save his business and his questionable reputation, Mick pairs up with Sophie to help track down–well whoever her target is. I haven’t figured that out yet. But it’s a base, and it totally sucked up my brain today when I was supposed to be writing about stimulus control.
So next time your brain refuses to cooperate and work on fiction–well use a little reverse psychology. Don’t let yourself try to work on it and you might be surprised when it protests and kicks into gear screaming “let me create, darn it!!!”