Monday, April 18, 2011

Damn Block!

Today I broke through writer's block. Here's a few tips I learned that help me:

1. I went back and read everything I had written so far. I found scenes I forgot I had written (since I don't always write the scenes my MS in order). I remembered what I found so endearing about my characters, and relived the magical moments that did flow on their own accord onto the page. I fell in love with my characters again, and focused on finding out more about the ones that weren't well rounded yet.

2. I made a list of all the things I wanted to include in my MS, or an outline, (after those first three chapters that I couldn't seem to get past) and took an objective look at it. Then I realized that it wasn't working  because my outline was a bunch of stuff happening TO my MC. I like to write character driven plots, which means that my MC goes through hell because of decisions and actions that have consequences that they have to figure out how to live with (or how to live period, since life threatening situations are fun).

I sat back and became one with my character. Then I asked my character how she feels about the inciting incident. What is she going to do about it? What does she want the most, and how is she going to get it, and what is she willing to risk?

3. Then I made a list of all the reactions my character could have about the inciting incident, and chose the one that A- felt most true to my MC, and B- created the worst possible situation.

4. I came up with a new outline. A lot of what I originally had planned still seemed to work it's way in, but only because my MC instigated for the story to go in that direction. Of course some of the other characters contribute to all the mess and stuff does happen TO my MC, but the story is more focused on her choices. When I did this, I realized that a lot of the stuff I'd written before this felt wrong because I could've taken my MC and turned her into a fly on the wall, and the scene wouldn't have changed much.

5. When I sat back down a the keyboard, I refused to let myself start with anything in the first three blasted chapters. The first chapter is the last one to be re-written in most cases anyways.

I hope this helps anyone else who finds themself in a bind. Happy writing!

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