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Why writers are like Homer Simpson*

I think every writer has probably had the experience of suddenly seeing something so blindingly, embarrassingly obvious that you can’t believe you didn’t notice it, oh, 90,000 words ago. I certainly have.

Why is this? Maybe it’s because it’s often so easy to tinker around with the surface details of your book – the setting, character’s names and jobs, chronology and order of scenes, whether the burglars should have their conversation on the stairs or in the getaway car … and overlook other little details such as CHARACTER and EMOTION.

My discovery today was that I’ve been making some terrible things happen to my heroine (good) and she hasn’t really seemed to mind, or notice (bad). That’s not her fault – that’s my fault. When I realised, I clapped my hand to my head and had a ‘Doh!’ moment like Homer Simpson.

I’ve had even worse Doh moments. After I wrote the very first draft of the very first scene of my first book, I re-read it and realised that I forgot to put any emotions in it. Yup. There was plenty of exposition, dialogue, atmosphere and whatnot – but not, um, anything that would make people want to read it.

I’m glad I caught that one.

Have you ever had a ‘Doh!’ moment and were you able to fix it?

* Also: we both like doughnuts. Mmm, donuts.


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