Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hurdles in Writing - When I Hit A Roadblock, This Is What I do.




Ironically, this was this week's blog prompt, but it seems like a hurdle to me.

There have been a few roadblocks for me over the years. Idea's usually aren't the issue though. One of my favorite screenwriters used to tell his students to open a newspaper if they need ideas. There's plenty of tension and life happening in there. I've never opened the newspaper, but I love tinkering with writer's prompts and images. Usually running into the right image is just what I need. I've used prompts and images, for both stories, and single scenes.

Sometimes I have trouble changing scenes when the intensity changes. I've found music is great for getting past that. I just figure out what emotion or atmosphere I need to create. There are all kinds of music playlists on youtube, spotify, and other websites. Just key in what you need. If words bother you, there are instrumentals, which is what I use most often, since words distract me.

Since I plan my stories. I always have an end. That isn't to say it will be 'the end,' because sometimes there are changes, and something else works better for the story. But even with planning, I tend to freeze up on the last third of the book. I've never been able to figure out why this happens, but I've seen it happen to other authors too, so there must be some kind of psychology behind it. This has been my biggest writing block, even though it makes no sense.

For atmosphere, we have images, for emotion we have music. I can always turn to a friend willing to plot with me, but freezing toward the end can't be dealt with by any of those things, and you probably won't like the answers I've found, if this is a problem for you, because they aren't easy.

The first answer is to find encouragement from your friends, or fans. People who like your work and have the ability to encourage. This isn't always enough to push through though. I suppose this answer is easy enough, but it might still take a while to get through the problem.

The second way that I've found is to simply to force myself forward. I might only write half or less of what I usually manage in a day, but I make myself work on it until I get past the block. Another teacher I had over the years said when you hit a roadblock, move on, because the story will come back together, and you can come back and take care of the problem later. I've found that he's right, it usually will come back together if you keep pushing forward.

One roadblock I hit was during Nanowrimo, Actually, Julnowrimo. I wrote Reflections in July. The problem was that I kept hitting snags where I wasn't sure if the historical accuracy. I Have friends that majored in history, and they are always willing to help, if they aren't busy, but they usually are, so I had a few friends who agreed to research any problems I ran into. I can't tell you how helpful that was, and critiquers still found areas for me to work on when I was finished.

If you're too overwhelmed to push through, put the story down for awhile. Work on something else, study or research things that apply to your story, or just freewrite for a few days and try to push forward again.

If you have other ways I haven't mentioned, feel free to share them.

Have an awesome day everyone.

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