I sat down to write this week’s post and drew a blank. I don’t know where that phrase came from and, frankly, I’m not in the mood to research it. Anyway, my mind was like a chalkboard that someone had erased, or a document someone had deleted. It happens to the best of us, and it’s not an age thing. I’ve seen plenty of young people go blank at the worst possible moment.
As the blankness wore off (ha ha), I remembered that last week’s post was about including a little reality in our stories. Drawing a blank is reality. What if your protagonist were to approach the most important information in her investigation, and suddenly she/he can’t remember what they meant to check into? It could happen, and it could add to the story. Just a thought.
Often, when you least expect it, that elusive idea or thought comes to you. I was once trying to think of the name of an actress’s son so I could tell an anecdote about him to some friends. It just wouldn’t come to me and, of course, I couldn’t think of her name either. This was in the days when there wasn’t a computer in every home and I couldn’t look it up. About two days later I was driving home from work on a Los Angeles freeway in stop and go traffic when it hit me. I suddenly knew both his name and his mother’s. Guess what? Today I can’t recall either of their names again, even though I can picture them in my mind. I want to say her name was Sylvia, but that isn’t it.
Sometimes our mind is going in one direction while our mouth is going in another. Have you ever looked at your dog and called it by your child’s name? (It’s not just me. I’ve heard other people do it.) Heaven help you if you call to your child by using the dog’s name.
Here’s another one. Have you ever answered the phone and recognized the voice of a longtime friend but you couldn’t think of their name? That’s when you say, “Who is this?” as they start talking. After they fill in the name, you say, “Oh. It didn’t sound like you,” in order to get yourself off the hook.
I think sometimes we have too many thoughts going through our little pea brains and it’s hard to pull ourselves back to what’s currently going on. Again, this isn’t an age thing. It’s a “we all have days like that” thing. Our characters should certainly have days like that once in a while.
I’m chuckling because when I sat down to write this post, I sure didn’t have these things in mind. Maybe drawing a blank was actually in inspiration. Ya think? Probably not.
What did I say about things coming to you when you least expect it? The actress I referred to above was Stella Stevens, and her son was actor Andrew Stevens.
I’ll bet the next time my protagonist forgets something it will come to her as she’s washing the dishes or putting on her shoes – or maybe in the middle of a different investigation.
So, once again, I appreciate it when an author puts a little relatable reality in a story. Something I can laugh at and say, “Oh, yeah. I’ve done that.” Even if it’s a fictional character you’re relating to, it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
What are some of the things you’ve done that you might use in a story? Can’t remember? Oh, well…
Until next week, write the names of your children on one hand and the names of your dogs on the other. When you call to them, just be sure to check the correct hand. Enough of this silliness. Come back next week. You never know what you’ll find here.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to Amazon.com
Having a Great Crime – Wish You Were Here, A Sandi Webster Mystery is… Gosh, I can’t remember what I was going to say. Just kidding. It’s a fun book that’s just waiting to be read by you.