The other night while washing dishes, I had a major breakthrough on a story. 15 years ago I came up with an idea and plot: A scandal in a small community and the fallout from same. I wrote a draft…
…and was very unhappy with it. The idea was good, the plot logical, but the final story just lay there like an inert slab of beef.
I put the idea aside and went on to work on other things. 10 years ago I revisited the story, changing the angle of attack. Better, but still not good, the way a broken toe is better than a broken ankle.
Again I put the idea aside. 4 years ago I thought about making the focal character one of the innocent people caught up in the aftermath of the scandal. I realized it was a better approach than my previous 2 tries, but there was still something missing. I jotted down some notes and put it aside.
Then, a few weeks ago while washing dishes, I had the breakthrough: The story was a modern day version of Job, an innocent person who suffers great trials, tribulations, and tragedy but through it all never loses faith in God even though He seems to be punishing Job unjustly.
This, I realized, was what my story was really about.
Excited, I told my wife about the breakthrough I had while doing the dishes.
She said, “You should wash the dishes more often.”