Well, it’s official. Despite all my vows to the contrary, yesterday afternoon I was forced to send a Dear John letter to my current work in progress. With the flourish of my imaginary pen, the manuscript I had promised to see through until the end became my former love. This is not without regret, and it probably isn’t permanent, but while I could ignore my yen to work on something different, I couldn’t ignore logic. And logic told me to go back to my earlier WIP, the one that reappeared last weekend, because that’s the one I really should sell first (assuming I do, in fact, sell it). So, there you go: Another good relationship done in by common sense and consumerism.

This means I’m back to plotting. This is one of my favorite parts of writing, and a step I generally take alone. But last night I was in the mood for a good brainstorming, and since I’m currently without a critique partner, I enlisted my husband. Plotting with hubs is often amusing and always interesting, because he and I have wildly different views on writing. (You may remember the Great Title Search of 2008.) To my everlasting amazement, however, it’s often productive. You see, as I try to find ways to gently explain why his suggestions won’t work, I often either come up with variations that will work or discover that he was right all along. As a bonus, I’m usually so pleased with the developments that I forget to be annoyed that he’s the one who gave me all the good ideas.

The best part of brainstorming with hubs, however, is not ironing out plot points, developing character motivations, or crafting the perfect title. No, I do it for the entertainment. You see, I write happy books, mostly romantic comedies. There are a lot of variations in plot, but the promise is there: the hero and heroine, while flawed, are decent (and usually sane) human beings, and although they find plenty of trouble along the way they will end up together in the end. But hubs, who reads Shakespeare for fun (he’s especially fond of the histories) did not get this memo. Which means that yesterday evening I actually got to point out that romance heroes do not:

  • Decide they do not love the heroine after all.
  • Ride their bicycles naked across the country — yes, even at night, when no one can see them.
  • Aspire to “find a sugar mama and retire early”.
  • Die at the end of the book.

Amazingly, besides plenty of laughter, some good stuff came out of our brainstorming, and I had a great day of writing today. Now, though, I can’t wait until hubs finally starts writing that book he sometimes talks about, so I can suggest some really wild things, like that his main characters actually find somebody to love. Somebody who loves them back and lives until long after the story ends. But he’ll probably reject those suggestions just like I often reject his. And that? Is the real spirit of brainstorming: Anything goes, even the truly crazy. And none of it is meant to be taken seriously — unless, that is, it actually works in the book.