1. C. B. Carter
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    C. B. Carter Member

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    Are you blocked? Can't write the next line?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by C. B. Carter, Jan 4, 2011.

    If you’re like most writers you’ll eventually suffer from some type of writers block. I find it happens to me when I’m transitioning from the beginning to the middle or the middle to the climax of the story. It always seems to happen around the ten page mark of the first draft for me.

    Recently though, I’ve gotten past this and will share a little trick that I’ve learned to get the creative juices flowing…

    Situation: You’ve just finished the introduction of your characters and developed your plot in the first ten pages of your story and now, the cursor just flashes – you don’t know what to write or how to start the middle of your story…

    First, there are a number of reasons why the cursor is just flashing and they are usually personal, abject traits of the writer…For me, it’s usually some level of doubt. In the back of my mind I’m already editing the first ten pages. My inner-critic is already tearing apart my stories start and not allowing me the creative freedom I need to start the middle of the story.

    Background: Let’s say for example I introduced the reader to John. John is pathetic example of a human being, he’s an abuser: He abuses his wife, his friends, alcohol, etc. After ten pages skimming the character traits of John I’m now at the middle of the story and in the back of my mind there are already edits that I want to make to John’s character (pun intended).

    An excerpt from Project Northwest: The end of the previous chapter (before the writer block kicked in) goes something like this:


    My Trick: When I’m stuck, I copy a paragraph (can be any paragraph in the story but I usually select one with action or conflict in it and one closest to the end of the previous chapter). I then close MS Word, open a new document and paste in the copied paragraph.

    I paste in this paragraph: “Never ice a fine scotch and never waste your money on rotgut,” John chided as he brought the glass to his lips and let the scotch velvet his tongue before swallowing the mouthful in a single gulp.

    Now with a single paragraph on an empty page – I try (actually I force myself) to write a continuation sentence as a question…I find that a "Why" question usually works best.

    Something like: Did the scotch burn his throat? Did he enjoy it (fully)? Why did he chide his son? I pick one and start writing about it…

    And I type without concern of grammar: He chided his son because he knew it would come up later, he was bitter about the intrusion. blah, blah, blah. Honestly, I rarely use whatever I typed that day - - but - - I’m not blocked anymore either and soon I end up with a nice start to the next chapter.

    So the next time you’re blocked, try this technique and see if it works for you.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Bro, I done been stuck for the better part of 2010. It would seem that my muse has taken offense to some unknown indiscretion and has abandoned me. I banged out just shy of two thousand words the other week and I am no further along with my work than I was before that short burst. It was like spinning my tires.
     
  3. C. B. Carter
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    C. B. Carter Member

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    Wreybies

    Ah, man I hate to hear that and I've been there. The secret (and I know this will not work for everyone) is to write something, anything, to exercise your creative side. That's why I use this little trick - it works for me. However, I should point out that experts say "Just take a break".

    Give it a try, copy the next to last paragraph or any paragraph with some conflict or action - close down all your MS Word docs and paste it into a new doc and ask yourself "why" questions about that paragraph then answer them.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think, too, that one secret is to not stop writing because of lack of inspiration, because sometimes that appears only after you've started writing. So i just write even though i have no ideas, and probably will delete it afterwards, at least it awakens my creative brain, and ideas will start coming. even if i will just write some nonsense at first, eventually it will get better and i can revise that bad part afterwards.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Tesoro I find just writing and not being concerned with how the story is going has been the best way to beat writers block - either that or getting my story fairy to zap them past the annoying bit I can't work out in the first draft. My first draft contains loads of bits I won't be using it is in the wrong order etc.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    when ending a writing session, don't stop at the end of a scene. Write a couple paragraphs of the next one as well: this makes it easier to continue later.
     
  7. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    This reminds me of a novel I have that has been sitting at 20,000 words for four years. The reason for my block is due to lack of motivation. Oddly enough, when I decided to work on my novella, I suddenly felt like continuing that novel.

    I find that a continuous flow of writing will help keep the blocks away. That is to say, when you go back and mull over how something sounds, it tends to become dull and puts an abrupt stop to everything. It then takes a lot more effort to get things going again, which can be really taxing on the creativity. It is like preparing an old train to move again after stopping: it takes forever!

    Unfortunately, this is exactly my problem. I simply cannot move on if something does not sound right. Sometimes, I would spend hours or even days on a single sentence or paragraph because I just cannot think up of the right words to use.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    thats a good one, I try to do that too, not waiting until i have no ideas left for quitting for the day but stop while i have still an idea about how to go on from there.
     

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