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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Causes of Writers' Block

We all have those days. Those days when anything is more appealing than writing. Those days when hitting the 1k mark or even writing a single paragraph is like pulling all four of your wisdom teeth. If you ever find yourself saying the words "I'd like to be writing right now, but it's like pulling teeth" then there might be a problem.

Trying to write an out of character scene 
One of the biggest road blocks for me comes when I'm trying to force my character to do something that they wouldn't normally do. For example, in an unnamed novel some time ago, I was trying to write a scene in which the MC apologized to her best friend. No matter how hard I tried to write the scene, it just wouldn't work. Then another idea popped into my head where, instead of the MC apologizing, she blew off her best friend. I battled against the idea for awhile and then finally gave in. The moment I did, the words started to flow again.

If you're having a lot of trouble with a scene, pause and think "Am I trying to force my character into this?" If the answer is yes, try to think of a way to alter the scene so that it fits your character properly. If you listen to them, they just might reward you.

Something else is calling 
Another major road block occurs when another WIP is calling louder than the one you're trying to work on. I find that, in general, the best thing for this is to indulge that new WIP for a bit. Write down any ideas that you have in a word document so you don't forget them. Write a couple scenes if you have to. Once you get it out of your system, come back and try again.

Plot point is not working
This one is similar to the out-of-character problem, except in this situation it's the plot points that aren't working out, not the character.  Sometimes, especially with pantsers, problems occur when you write the story into a corner. The best thing for this is generally to take a step back and figure out where you're going. You may have to back up a bit in the story and delete a few scenes in order to take it in another direction.

What are some common problems that you run into that cause writers' block?

1 comments:

E.Maree said...

I've run into these two, but I'm currently stuck on a scene that doesn't fit the M.O. I think it's likely to be either of these causes:

*The world is missing a piece.*
Sometimes a piece of worldbuilding hits me out of the blue, and everything in the story clicks into place. I've just got to let the story percolate until that happens.

*Everyone's slacking off.*
If I get distracted by a story, I can get stuck just trying to get back to it. At times like these, plowing on to a regular schedule is required to re-discipline myself and my story.