Writer’s Block

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

Writing is Weight Loss

Two things I’ve recently had to focus more of my attention.  Writing and Exercising.  The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much one is like the other.  There is the standard “exercise your brain” phrase, which easily can describe putting onto paper what your characters are shouting in your head.  But there’s more to it than even that.

When I write a first draft, it’s like a purge.  The characters in my brain have demanded, quite literally, for me to get their story into print.  My fingers hit the keyboard and out comes…a bunch of crap.  But at the end, it’s finally ALL OUT.  Next, my second draft or even a thorough edit when I don’t feel like moving on, becomes an intense workout.  Slashing away at the blob of garbage on my screen, trying to find the meat and bones beneath the fat.  Another draft, may have me finally trimming away the stubborn fat I didn’t get with the first machete session.

Finally, at the end, a polished, sculpted manuscript.  I’ve put my whole heart and soul into the finished product.  Blood, sweat and tears are always a main ingredient to any good novel.

Thinking about it in these terms, helps me understand a little better why I struggle to get to The End.  I’m not really one to stick to an exercise routine more than, say, 2 months?  Why wouldn’t the dedicated, hard work that a finished manuscript takes – be any less of a surprise to me when I fail at it?

Well.  This year a lot has changed for me.  I have…I’ll call it a “new direction”.  A new path I’ve started my life down and it’s probably the most rigorous, difficult, every-second-a-challenge, lifestyle I could have chosen.  What this has started to show me is just how dedicated I can be to something, but also, how much work it takes to achieve each smaller goal that is part of the overall goal.

After re-reading that paragraph, I realize that sounds very cryptic.  I don’t mean it to, I assure you.  My basic point is that with the help of some outside direction, I’ve started to clear that path toward the person I want to be.  The writer I demand myself to become.

A friend of mine once said that I shouldn’t just live my life, but thrive.  I believe I’m beginning to live the way I should.  Trimming the excessive fat from my life, my body and my novel.  I’m hoping that with a good solid foundation, the true routine I’m establishing and an overall focus – I’ll have that full, thriving life I want and deserve.

With that being said, I have to force myself away from my computer to exercise my body.

New Novel Word Count:  13,844

Forbidden Desires

Have you ever wanted something, needed something, so badly you thought you’d die without it.  Only to wake up, smell reality and realize it’s a forbidden desire?

They can be described in many ways.  The Deadly Sins, Capital Vices, Cardinal Sins…an unspoken set of rules that should be the basic foundation of our every day choices.  I, myself, have happily indulged in each and every delicious sin, only to feel guilt, remorse and humility after the pleasure has worn off.  Although…it never truly stops me.

Gluttony:  The over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.

Greed:  A very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions.

Sloth:  A failure to do things that one should do; laziness – physical or spiritual.

Wrath:  Also known as “rage”, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.

Envy:  Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone’s traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is that envious also desire the entity and covet it.

Pride:  A desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self.

And…saving the best for last:

Lust:  Usually thought of as excessive sexual wants; however, the word was originally a general term for desire. Therefore lust could involve the intense desire of money, food, fame, or power as well.

At some point, I’d love to frame and hang this picture, as its a gorgeous rendering of each exotic sin – (Artist Found Here):

7 Deadly Sins

It seems an absolute shame that indulging in any one of these is deemed evil.  Which is one reason I love being a writer.  I can create anything.  I’m a god of my world on paper.  I decide what constitutes a sin, and what the punishment for said act will be.  It’s both a powerful and terrifying feeling.

Choosing to write romance, dabbling in erotica, you can easily see the Sin I favor.  If I’m forsaken, it’ll be Lust that takes me down into it’s dark, dangerous depths.  But damn, what a ride.

I would say the goal of any good writer, is to inject each scene with a deadly dose of sin.  Take every interaction your character has with the object of it’s ultimate desire, and bleed out the particular vice until your reader has inadvertently tumbled into that dark, unforgiving space.  Only then, will you have truly captured them.  Trapped them in your web of illusion and hold them until the very last page.  If you can do this, your reader will curse the end and, hopefully, lust after your next book.