I’m Brain Dead


I don’t know when it happened, but sometime or another this month (or maybe it was this year) my brain ceased working. At least that’s how it feels. I thought I had a plot for my third Crows book, but evidently I don’t because I’m halfway through and I have no idea where to go next. It’s not even as if I wrote myself into a corner. It’s more like I’ve written myself over a cliff. I knew the beginning and how I wanted the story to end, and I thought the middle would work itself out. Well, surprise, it hasn’t.


My mystery lacks tension and suspense. There’s absolutely no reason for my protagonist to be involved in solving the crime. I just finished judging books for the Daphne contest and the criteria used to judge those books is fresh in my mind. Considering what I have written, if I were judging it today, I’d have to give it a low score.

In some ways I’d like to simply shelve the story and work on something else, but I ended the second book in the series with a situation that more or less requires a third book. (At least that’s what my fans tell me.) So if I walk away from this story, I’m letting them down. Heck, I’d be letting myself down.

Today I decided to start a chapter by chapter outline of what I have written. I’m hoping as I go through what I already have I’ll stimulate my creative thoughts and will come up with a new direction. If that doesn’t work, I’m hoping my critique partners (I’ve sure missed working with those ladies while I was in Florida) will help with some brain storming.

This being brain dead sure isn’t fun.

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13 Responses to I’m Brain Dead

  1. Oh, Maris, don’t I know that feeling. It’s not even like a puzzle, where all the pieces are there and just need to be put together and smoothed out. Instead, it’s like swimming through pea soup first just to find the puzzle pieces (I think I’m mixing metaphors here). I hope the outlining will spark some ideas. Good luck!

  2. Joe Novara says:

    Maybe we could talk it through now that you’re in S Haven. Rosalie might help as well.

  3. Ask the characters. Also read “The 90-day novel by Alan Watt. He gets a little spiritual about our friendly muse but his ideas jar the mind into new avenues of creation.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I did ask them, Wade keeps telling P.J. to stay out of it, it’s police business. I just have to figure out how to get her involved. But thanks for the advice. It is fun when the characters tell you what needs to be done, and maybe these two will start talking to me. I hope so.

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    I’m there with you Maris! Some days I’m so brain dead that I can’t put two words together much less a sentence. 🙂 I wish you luck with the help. I’m sure the critique partners will help. Just talking with someone is a plus!

  5. I think everyone who writes can identify with what you’re feeling. But I have total faith in you – you’ll be out of this slump in no time!

  6. John Wemlinger says:

    Maris, I just read through your dilemma and the comments from everyone. Don’t know if you remember me or not. We met at the mystery writers group in GR some time ago. My advice: Keep at it. I was away from writing for the last five or six years as I returned to work with at-risk youth. Now retired, I have returned to the thrill and the solitude of writing. I am far away from a polished manuscript, but I have had an idea for over a year and it has finally blossomed sufficiently that I think there is a novel there. Much of it came to me at times when I was not at the computer; walking the dog, lying in bed before going to sleep or just after awaking, etc. A friend asked me what my book was about. I explained. She said, “Oh it’s a love story!” I harummphed. Retired Colonel’s DO NOT write love stories. As it has developed, however, it is undeniably a love story. It will all come to you. Let yourself be open to non-conventional times to think about it. My only problem with this technique is, then, trying to remember the good idea I had, when I finally settle in behind the keyboard…maybe a notepad and pen in my pocket would be wise.

    • Maris Soule says:

      John, of course I remember you. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love that bit about Retired Colonels not writing love stories. Uh huh. Anyway, I am rereading what I have written and hope doing so will open my mind to some new ideas. So glad to hear you’re back to writing. Do keep me posted on the progress of your novel.

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