Like most – if not all – writers the biggest problem I face is isolation. Living in a provincial area with no other romance writers (that I am aware of) close by I often yearn for face to face contact with like minded individuals. Not for the encouragement and support such contact would bring me, nor for help with polishing a story – I have wonderful on-line critique partners who do this – but to brainstorm me through those dips and sags when my brain goes on holiday. I was fortunate to be part of a writers group in US and found how seemingly painless it was to come up with ideas to fatten out a story when you sat around together. No matter how hilarious and way-out as some of the suggestions might be, they provided oil for the sluggish brain cells to engage back into gear. Although I often ‘talk’ on line with other writers, somehow I don’t seem to be able to achieve the same level of inspiration and stimulation as face to face contact gave me.
Romance readers can be helpful, though. Perhaps they are not aware of all the little intricacies we must abide by within our genres, but talking with them can stimulate ideas, too. I was recently presented with some very solid ideas for the sagging middle of my WIP from a reader which I will be developing this week. The ideas in themselves were basic, one was “why don’t you have them come upon a car accident?” This fitted perfectly with a road trip my hero and heroine were taking – in itself so uninspiring I was planning to chop the whole scene. But now I can see an opportunity to develop their characters further and add layers to the confusion between them. Help and inspiration can come from many directions and take many forms. All we have to do is be open to recognise this.