note to self: simple is good

In the past few days I went to a wedding, got asked if I worked for the alcoholic beverage control board, bowled in my dress clothes, received a package full of 80 year old novels, and saw a mummified Mongolian princess. As much as I'd like to blame today's "oh, yeah" writing moment on recent distractions, the truth is that I just worked out an answer that I've been struggling with for weeks now.

My story took a turn early on that I thought I understood, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I didn't like the reason for that. It felt gimmicky and kind of cheesy, so I ditched it. I love the related plot twist, but all I needed was a new basis for it.

After a dozen notebook pages and at least two computer files worth of brainstorming, I still couldn't work it out. I tried elaborate new backstory connections (too coincidental). I tried rethinking the foundation of the magic system (too complicated). I came up with a new subplot and a new character I liked, but they didn't hook in well enough with anything other than that one issue. I was starting to worry that I'd need to rethink the whole story arc when the answer finally came.

It was really, really simple. I don't have to change anything I've already written or any character backgrounds. I don't have to do a damn thing except get out of the way. I need to try to remember to look for simple solutions next time, but just because the end result is fairly basic doesn't mean that it's an easy conclusion for me to reach.

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