Friday, June 8, 2012

Use Change to Spice up Your Novel

Choices can be big ones or small ones we don't even realize are choices. Take the bus today instead of your car. Stop at that new cafe or go to your regular one. Nobody will ever know what might have happened with choices like that. 

The bigger ones are more obvious. I made my first big on when I was 22 and decided to pick up and move 2,000 miles away from home to a place I'd never been, where I knew no one and which was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. From that moment on my life changed dramatically. In an alternate universe I would have stayed home and done what my family wanted me to do -- go to university. The question then becomes, who would I be today?

I think we can do things like that in our writing. Let your characters take a turn into the unknown, they -- and you -- might find yourself in some interesting territory. Don't be afraid to explore. You can do this when your writing stalls. Let your mind go, do outrageous things, something you know the character would ever do, or something you would never do. You may not use what you write, but I'll be it breaks your slump.

And since people universally hate change, forcing yourself to do so adds to conflict which we all know our stories need to pass muster.


Take any character, major or minor and a scene and change its direction. Have your character go off in a totally different path. If you want, you can post it here. Have fun with it. It doesn't have to be the same genre. You could have your romance protag step into a space war or a medieval fair.

Exciting News. L.A. Boneyard is available. The novel has been extensively revised and vastly improved.


At 22 years of age, P. A. Brown's life changed forever when she sold everything she owned and moved 2,000 miles away to a city she'd never visited, where she knew no one and where she was definitely not prepared. Coming from a sheltered life, she spent the next eight years doing her own wild and crazy thing and managed to survive. In retrospect, she now realizes her family was right. She was insane. Which of course made her fit in perfectly. She roamed the good and bad streets of Los Angeles, doing things that in retrospect were probably downright idiotic. Knowing nothing about the city she made the brilliant decision to get a cheap apartment. She found one, in the heart of a crime-ridden section of Hollywood, one she later found out was called a war zone by the LAPD. There were stabbings and shootings and assaults every weekend. Thus was her introduction to life in a big American city. She revisited lately and found the entire area gentrified. Almost all of her favorite haunts were gone. Only the Frolic Room remained.
Most of her time in L.A. was spent in the underbelly of the city, including a month living out of a car. She visited Skid Row, spent time on the streets of Hollywood, and befriended a bartender who was killed after she went home with a customer. And you wonder why she writes crime novels? During the 80s, P. A. saw the advent of a terrible disease no one understood that became known as AIDS. Being immersed in the gay community, P. A. knew a lot of people who died in those days. For a brief period, she was even a "Valley Girl," living within spitting distance of the famous Sherman Oaks Galleria. Does she miss it? Every minute of every day.

For more information on P. A. Brown, please visit her website 

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

Great advice, Pat. I love the cover of your novel. :)