View Full Version : Cure for the Common Block
March 31st, 2005, 11:54 AM
Alright, I've had enough.
I'm going to hit my head on a wall.
I'm going to jump on my computer until it's nothing but a pile of chips.
I'm going to go crazy.
I have writers block.
I want as many opinions as my tiny head can handle. How do you fix it?! I've been trying to write my book for about a year now, and I just can't advance. Please help me out, I don't usually have this problem. Heck, for the past 5 years I've never even needed this kind of advice, but now I'm stuck. REALLY stuck.
March 31st, 2005, 12:58 PM
Well I've definately been there.
First off - answers to a few questions might help us with some advice.
1. Is there anything specific you're having problems with?
2. How far are you into this story? Is it one particular story that you're having trouble with, or just writing anything in general?
3. Is the problem that you have too many ideas and you're stuck on which to use, or that you don't seem to be able to come up with anything appealing to you at the moment?
4. How long have you been stuck?
Some quick fixes:
- Write Crap! Sit there and pound out whatever comes to mind. (Sometimes you can go back and find that what you've written is not all that bad. Or, it may at least inspire you on another path.)
- Take a break! You don't need to get it written today do you? (Ignore this advice if this is an assignment for a creative writing class due tommorrow. If that is the case, see my first point above and if anyone scoffs at your work, throw your arms up and yell about how they don't understand true genius.)
- Edit. Sometimes it helps to go back over what you've already writting just to be reminded of what inspired you in the first place.
- Interview your characters. Pick a character, sit down and figure out what's going through their mind at this point in the story. What's motivating them? What are they hiding? Make them justify why you shouldn't fire them.
Hope this helps.
March 31st, 2005, 12:59 PM
Write something else. It doesn't matter what, writer's block is just another way of saying "I am not writing".
If you are really stuck look back through the old exercises in this forum and give them a go.
March 31st, 2005, 01:09 PM
Go back and read the story, if you still don't want to keep going then edit it so it gets a catch that you want to continue, thats what I did.
March 31st, 2005, 02:03 PM
Hmm... Well, the problem isn't writing in General. You saw my Miller & Stowes thing, I'm sure. I wrote a bit of that about a few hours ago. I don't know. Would it help if I show you where I left off? I hope it's not too much...
“… And I guess I might have been a little…. Harsh…”
“ Well, personally, I never knew he was a…” Durantem paused, “… Tyrant”
Ancie twiddled her thumbs, slowly rocking back and forth on her rocking chair. Durantem sat in the opposite chair. She had called Durantem and just told to him the conversation that she and Mish had and, besides, she knew that Mish was going to go and cut wood, so Durantem might as well rest a bit before he went out with him and Yeran. Durantem was fond of gardening, sure, but he despised cutting down trees. He liked working on making life, but not taking it. He didn’t like solid work; solid work in a sense that everything he was working with involved something dead and solid, like modern machinery. He also hated hands full of splinters like a pincushion with needles.
The trees they cut weren’t like the usual ones that you could see from the village. If they were they wouldn’t have to cut down any trees for the next few years; they were at least eight-hundred feet tall and the width ranged from five to fourteen feet. No, the ones they cut were far out of view in a little clearing in the forest where a small spring trickled gently on the rocks like harp strings plucked with a feather. It was a beautiful place, but the trees here grew a little smaller then the great oaks; great white trees which were a good size for cutting. Durantem enjoyed being there, certainly, but for Mish’s reason was uncomfortable to Durantem. He understood why Mish does it, and respects it and agrees to a certain respect, but Durantem still flinches whenever he sees Mish strike a tree down with his steel ax. Didn’t Mish break his ax a while ago? Yes… Durantem remembered. He tensed up in his chair with a hopeful expression kindling in his mind. And Yeran wasn’t here to make a new one…
He was probably already at Yeran’s house, getting ready to make a new one as they spoke. Durantem’s little candle of hope slowly faded into the darker recesses of his mind and disappeared. He would have to do wood work after all.
“When exactly are we going out? For wood, that is…” Durantem asked Ancie, getting off the subject of the conversation.
“Dear, have you heard a single word I’ve said?”
“About Yeran?” Durantem was trying to skip around the situation. Ancie would sometimes involve Durantem in these sort of situations, especially ....
And that's where I'm stuck. I just don't know what to do next or something. I've got the whole thing planned, you know? It's like I set a train track out and I forgot one. I'm just STUCK. Been there for several months now. What do I do?
Oh, I like the suggestion about talking to my characters... Maybe invite them for a cup of tea or two, right? lol
March 31st, 2005, 04:30 PM
Hmm. Angie could get angry - he's been ignoring her and changing the subject, good time to have a screaming argument.
April 7th, 2005, 11:18 AM
Hmm, I've never actually had writer's block before. I don't know if that's because of my approach or not, but just in case --
I start a project with a real generic outline and go from there. My next stop is at the library. I try and predict every topic that I need to research and I dig in (I just finished seven months of research for my next book). While studying up I'm usually swamped with ideas. I keep a notebook handy and write down scenes that I want to include in the book, as well as any ideas that come up for other projects. When I finish the read-till-you-bleed stage I've usually got a fairly well fleshed outline, including notes for each scene that I plan to include. After that, the actual writing is just a formality. Even if I don't feel the mood, I just write, I can always fix it during the edit.
It's worked every time so far. And every time I finish a project I always have to decide from a pretty large list which topic I want to tackle next.
April 7th, 2005, 01:20 PM
As has been said before, the best cure for writer's block is to write. It doesn't have to be anything special, but you must write through it. If you don't, block will stay with you for a long long time.
The best thing to do, if writer's block hits often is to try and set up a routine. A specific time or place that you choose to write. This will get your brain to say 'Hey, it's time to write' and you'll be free.
At least it works for me.
April 7th, 2005, 03:42 PM
I don't know about you guys, but this is what I do when I have writer's block. I pick one of my favorite movies, which is fantasy based, and I write what I see. I pause and I rewind and pause so I can get every detail right, including the speech.
April 7th, 2005, 10:07 PM
Ah writer's block! How I wish I had it. I envy you.
You've hit a point where you have to write transitional stuff that you're unsure about or your brain finds boring maybe. Or something that's not transitional but you're not sure how to put it together, even though you know what it's suppose to be.
One way to deal with it is to jump -- go further ahead chronologically to another scene you've planned that your brain doesn't have a problem working on. Write the ending. Write a love scene. Write the scene where the protagonist gets whacked in the head with a stick. Then go back.
Another way is to plan -- you think and think about a plot event or scene, work out every little detail and visualizing it in your mind but refuse to let yourself write it. Hopefully, your brain will get so caught up in working out the details that it will be dying to write the narrative after a day or two of planning.
Another way to do it is to write a scene or passage as a screenplay -- just dialogue and summary description of the action and setting. This takes the pressure off because you don't have to think about character pov, witty turns of phrase and sensory imagery. You don't have to work everything out yet -- it's an outline more or less. For transitional stuff that needs to be worked out eventually but you don't want to bother with at the moment, just make a notation (they say hello to the neighbor and walk into the forest,) and try to move onward. Later on, when you have a full draft, you can revise and fill stuff in.
Or, write whatever drivel comes into your head, like on these message boards. :) Then rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. Bring all your powers of concentration to bear on the sticking point in the story and keep hacking away at it even though you hate whatever you come up with. By that concentration, you may shake something loose. Though you will probably come up with the solution while in the shower.
Or, describe the basics of the plot or plot point to others. Ask them what they think you should do next. You probably won't like any of their suggestions, but it might jumpstart something in your own brain.
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