I’ve been writing for years and heard everything from, it doesn’t really exist to a million and one ways to work through Writer’s Block. After extensive “research” of my own and trying to get a manuscript written, I realize that it’s a partially accurate description of the wall that you can hit during your writing. I don’t believe it’s “complete” blockage. Since recently, I’ve started blogging and writing other bits and pieces of scenes, it seems that if I hit a “wall” or suddenly feel a block in what I’m doing – I have the option to move away from the writing I’m working on and focus my creative energy in another outlet.
Throughout my writing experiences over the years, I’d say that I’ve grown a lot and I tend to get further into each new novel when I’m really passionate about the characters. For example, in my new novel, the hero and heroine are spunky and completely opposite goals for their lives. But it’s easy to see, at heart, they are a lot more alike then they realize. Because I enjoy their story, I’ve written nearly 14,000 before hitting the infamous block.
So I decided to try and figure out exactly what the problem was, perhaps this could help me work through my mental barricade and move forward. I’m into chapter 4 and the first thing I notice is that my “rough outline” I had chicken scratched on a piece of paper – well, the story had deviated slightly from my notes. I think my first mistake was trying to force my characters back to the original idea. Any writer knows, this is not really the best way to write. What I *should* have done, was let them digress, follow an unbeaten path and see what they wanted. If I’ve created them to be true dimensional characters, they probably know better than I do how they’d respond to obstacles I throw in front of them! I’m not stupid enough to assume they’d tell the story correctly. Ha! My hero would have total control of everything in his life – boring. My heroine would live out a peaceful, uneventful story on her own personal lake – horribly boring. I might throw up thinking how dry the story would be if I let them have full reign.
However, letting them test the limits of my storyline instead of forcing them back between the lines, has slowed the creative process.
The next thing I realized is that I have written a LOT of dialogue between the two, nearly the entire chapter. While dialogue isn’t the worst thing (if written properly), the category romance I’m attempting to make this novel, needs much more internal dialogue. This is an area I tend to struggle sometimes. I’m not sure if it’s because the “Show, Don’t Tell” has been pounded into my head over the years, so I put way too much into outer referencing instead of inner thoughts. Or perhaps I’m keeping too tightly in my “God” narrative and not enough getting to know these characters that I so adamantly say I’ve developed.
Either way, those are two vital mistakes I know I’ve made and has led me to this “block”.
So. The next question is what do I do about it? If you couldn’t tell, my first thought, write a blog post about it. :) But as long as other outlets don’t stand as a crutch, I think this actually could be helpful. Get something “on paper”. Anything to get the wheels to turn, my brain to wake up and think about what I’m typing. Whether it’s a blog post, notes, updating the now out-of-date outline, work on an entirely different story or scene…any of these options, will at least get me writing. I have to go back and reiterate though, I need to make SURE it isn’t a cop-out. Staying focused will help me persevere to the next level of my writing.
While I sit here, staring out my window at the morning sunlight brightening my front yard, I think of another thing that’s blocking me. I feel…disconnected with my story right now. It’s that time when I’m trying to stay true to each character, not “change” them too quickly. And by change, I don’t mean change them to something they’re not. I mean change, as in, see what they want, what they truly want and adjust their thinking to get it. This is the muddy, grey area of the story where they need to stand strong and not see eye to eye. An area that I always muck up too easily because I just want to throw the two of them together and move onto the sex ;-) Okay, not exactly, but I like the falling in love part.
It’s one of my biggest problems. The anticipation and build up is the ultimate best part of a relationship, because we all know that once you cross that line, it’s ….satisfying… but you’ll never have that build up feeling again.
Big problem for me.
In reality, my “happily ever after” would be renewing that anticipation every day. Sometimes I think maybe the “perfect” relationship for me would be a two story “house” that’s quite simply a full home/apt on both levels. You and your significant other could have separate living quarters, enjoy space and let that slight bit of time being apart, help you reconnect. Each day you spend together, would be a ‘starting over’ day.
I digress…and could ramble for hours about a fantasy life.
The point is, I always hit this wall when my characters hurdle into emotions I *know* they can’t be feeling yet. I need to back up, edit if necessary, and remind myself of the people they are without each other. Only then, can they move forward, stronger and more diligent about reaching their original goals. It should take another chapter at least before they start to feel that pull, that unexplained need to spend more time together.
Well, I think I’ve put enough time into something other than fixing my story! Thanks for letting my mind wander for a bit!
New Novel Word Count: 13,887