WOO! Another awesome blog letting me
I've been asked today to talk about two words that can strike fear into the heart of every writer (no, not queries or synopses--thank goodness. I would have nothing useful to say about those except maybe ARGH I HATE THEM!) (ahem). Two words that I actually think are rather misunderstood. You ready for it? Do I need to cue the ominous music first?
*creepy organ notes pound*
You guys okay? No one swooning or flailing?
See, to me the funny thing is, I think the idea of writer's block has gotten a bit overdramatized, or it has in my head anyway. Whenever I hear it I envision some poor writer staring blankly at a computer screen for days, weeks, months, YEARS without a single word to type. THAT would definitely be a bummer.
But I don't think it's what writer's block actually is. I think real writer's block is what I like to think of as "hitting the wall." And what I mean by that is, you're typing along, words are flowing, stories are spinning, tales are telling and then... it screeches to a halt. Maybe it's the plot. Maybe it's the characters. Whatever it is, you can't move forward anymore. You're blocked.
Which is frustrating. Totally. BUT, it's not as dire as WRITERS BLOCK seems. It just means you've hit a wall in the story. And the great thing about walls is, they can be knocked down or climbed over or tunneled underneath. They're not an end. They're just a temporary hiccup.
Here's what I like to do when I hit one:
- Look back. Writing is all about decision making. So 9 times out of 10 if I'm hitting a wall it's because somewhere behind me I made a bad choice. Sure, it's not always fun having to trash scenes and rewrite them, but it's worth it if it gets me back on track
- Play the "what if" game. If it's not a problem with what came before then it must be a problem with what's coming after. The place I think I want to go must not be where the story wants to take me. So I play the "what if"game and try and come up with alternative "afters" to see if it'll get me moving forward again.
- Bring in help. I personally think every writer needs at least one trusted crit partner to help them on a project. Someone who will catch mistakes in their pages, and who will be there to bounce ideas off and brainstorm with when you're stuck. Send them what you have--who cares if it's messy--and see if they spot something you missed. Then hold a brainstorming session and talk it out. You'll be amazed at how much better it is having someone else weighing in.
- Take a break. Sometimes you just need time. Put it aside. Let it stew. Your brain will keep playing with it when you don't even realize and one day out of the blue you'll have that, "AH HA!" moment and put all the pieces together. This doesn't give you an excuse not to write, though. Start something new. Write a short story. Find things that you can work on so you don't break your writing schedule. It's always good to have another project in the works anyway.
Hope that helps you guys--thank you so much for reading. I believe my work here is done, so I will now relinquish my control of this lovely blog and sneak away before they notice any shenanigans I caused. *runs away with flailing muppet arms*
ABOUT THE BOOK
Keeper of the Lost Cities
by Shannon MessengerSeries: Keeper of the Lost Cities #1
Published: October 2nd 2012
Publisher: Aladdin / Simon & Schuster
Genre: Middle Grade
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.
Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.
In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHANNON MESSENGER graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. Keeper of the Lost Cities is her first middle grade novel. Let the Sky Fall, a young adult novel, will follow in Spring 2013. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats.
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