Posted by: Author | May 23, 2011

My Friend, the Psychologist

I spent the afternoon and evening yesterday with my dear friend that’s a retired psychologist whose specialty was treating combat veterans. She’s so amazing and cool. She really makes me think about things. One of the topics of discussion was my WIP based on the Queen Mary. I was telling her how it was whipping my butt and that I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere fast. We moved on to other things and talked about my trip to Los Angeles and Long Beach. Eventually, we got back to how I was feeling like the WIP was dull and unimaginative.

She had great insight as soon as I said that. She tied it all together for my little pea brain. The reason it was kicking my rear is because I knew too much. Having spent two nights on the Queen Mary and taking two tours and getting the real, true layout of where the elevators, dining room, pool, etc were is interfering with my ability to be creative. It’s too concrete.

She said a little research into your place is good but too much stifles the creative juices. So brilliant. Just brilliant.  I’m going to take another stab at it without focusing on all the details and see what I get.  Have I told you I adore her?? 

Corridor on the Queen Mary


  1. I love this, you just reinforced what I’ve been saying about knowing too much. The things I know the most about are the things that slow down my stories. An example, have you every watched a person who isn’t an author and reads sparingly when you discuss anything about what your writing or even the writing it’s self. They get a sort of dazed look. That’s why I appreciate my fellow authors.

    We raised and showed Miniature Horses. Same thing, horse people can talk for hours on horses. To horse people.

    Our daughter works in the medical profession and when she discusses her job, the technical terms. I know my eyes glaze over.

    Or how about computer talking, I love the subject but again that glazed look, I’ve seen all to often.

    So… if we see it in our verbal communication keep it out of our text. Or color it so they don’t know your telling them something. Hey maybe that’s it when know to much we tend to tell not show.

    • I think you may be right about the Show/tell thing when we know too much. I followed her advice to let go of all the concrete stuff and just flow with action. I have enough scenes in my head now to finish the story. It was weird how it all came together when she brought it into focus. The wonderful thing about her is she is an avid reader and very interested in the process itself.

  2. This was definitely food for thought for me – thank you!

    • It actually worked. I drive to tallahassee once a month for the day job and it is three hrs each way. Once I let go of the concrete data, I was able to brainstorm the rest of the story and I have enough scene ideas now to finish it. Wild, huh?

  3. This is a very timely blog, because I’m editing a story and finding I’m using way too much detail. I’ve been to the place my heroine lives and I think I was trying for make absolutely certain everyone loved the place as much as I do. lol
    Sigh. Live and learn, ehg?

    • Yeah, live and learn for sure. I’ve been to a lot of the places I write about but it’s been a while so I guess the memories faded- I think the Queen Mary visit was too recent and thus, bogged me down. LOL! Glad the advice was timely for you, too.

  4. Great advice. Sometimes we get so caught up in research that we can’t focus on what’s important, the story/characters.

    • It really helped break down the wall I was banging against. She’s amazingly insightful!

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