1. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Frustrated

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Justin Rocket 2, Aug 10, 2015.

    I went to the library today thinking that a change in environment might help stimulate the neurons in charge of creativity. I start writing my novel's first scene involving the protagonist. I free write for three paragraphs not caring if it is good or not, just trying to get words on the page. After the third paragraph, my mind goes completely blank and my pen screeches to a halt. Over the next several hours, I start again and *bam* my mind goes blank and my pen goes still. So, I try a different approach and try to analyze my characters a bit more. I take a page and go down it listing goal, fear, belief, wound, etc. and try to detail what my protagonist's goal, fear, etc. are. I write answers, though they seem kinda half-assed. I start writing again and *bam* fourth paragraph, my pen goes still. I try to make a list of surprise turns that happen in the scene. I get two or three down and can't come up with any more. Finally, it is time to go home and I leave disappointed with myself.

    I've been told that writer's block is just laziness. But, I feel like I worked hard trying to pull water out of that dry well. How can I get over this work stoppage?
     
  2. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Wait, I think. I don't believe that writer's block is laziness; I don't think it exists at all. There are times when I have something to say, and there are times when I don't.
     
  3. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    Free write gibberish.
    set a timer for 15 min.

    take no account for puncuation, speeling or anything else!!!

    like this:

    cars fly even though the sacue in my bbq sandwich stood still against time and then the flies came they swooped low and made me think of what might happen to all my loves ones the ones that are left behind at the family get together the ones that i wasnt able to save.....

    when the time is up..
    get up and walk away..
    take a breather

    see if something intrigues you, mix and match.

    if nothing.

    then reset the time and do it again.
     
  4. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    It's difficult to force yourself to write (and I personally find it counterproductive). I've been stuck on chapter 7 on my novel for days now, but I don't worry about it. It's usually because my thoughts have become muddy or I'm trying to shoehorn in an idea or written paragraph that (I intuitively know doesn't belong). So, I step back and let the subconscious toil for me. I've fallen into the shoehorn trap many times but have 'slowly' learned to let that favorite idea or written paragraph go.

    Finally, after a few days of being stuck, I'll read other books -- then, usually, something sparks and next thing you know I'm at the computer at 4AM on a Saturday tearing it up...
     
  5. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    I spent today taking care of my aging mom and tomorrow will be spent at the pain doctor's. But, Thursday I'm gonna give your method a strong effort. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder if the reason you're stuck is because you don't know where to go.

    When I first started writing, I often just knew the beginning, middle, and end. I also planned my setting and characters in full detail, and that was it. So when I'd start writing, I'd have the same problem as you. After a certain point, I'd have no idea where to go next. So I'd end up scrapping the piece and forgetting about it.

    But now, I've developed a different way to plan my stories. I know the setting, beginning, major plot points, and the end, but leave the characters a little loose. (For example, a generous girl who wants to help others.) But instead of going from this to writing the story, I start planning out my entire story from start to finish. I lay out every chapter, very generically. If I have information that needs shared in a particular scene, I just jot down, "talk about Claiming here." If there's a conversation, I just put, "have conversation about the Shard here." Doing this not only keeps the story organized and "together" but it also allows my characters to grow with the story. (For example, the generous girl from before turns out to have an anger and authority issue.)

    When I finish planning, I'll lay out a list of scenes and chapters, in very basic terms, so that I can reference it while writing. Looks something like this:

    Ch. 1: Cow dies, goes to Preithos, becomes Eir
    Ch. 2: Explores her quarters, has dinner with Collective, feeds the servants
    Ch. 3: Shares the leftover food, goes to old house, meets with neighbors, cries

    And so on and so forth. I have all forty chapters laid out this way (though they may change a bit depending on length). And it only took about a week to get everything planned and laid out like this. The entire process was so beneficial to me because when I actually sit down to write, I never have a moment where I'm stuck and don't know where to go next. I have my chapter list right by me to reference, and it keeps me constantly moving forward, never having to stop and backtrack and fix inconsistencies. Because all of the planning is done. Now it's just down to the writing.

    This doesn't work for everyone obviously. Some people truly are pansters that just got stuck. But you seem to suffer from the same problem I used to suffer from so I thought it may help to share. :)


    Good luck!
     
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  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I do exactly the same as @Lea`Brooks; listing out each chapter. As well as what happens in terms of plot, I outline what I want to reader to understand about the characters from each chapter. So it might be:

    Chapter 1
    - Jane Doe is at a party
    - A man hits on her
    - We see she is very shy and scared of men

    Chapter 2
    - John Doe sits home alone
    - His mother calls and yells at him that he never contacts her and is a terrible son
    - We see he is lonely

    But I never force myself to write. For me, it just doesn't work. If I want to make progress but I'm not feeling creative, or I know I'm not writing well because I'm tired or whatever, I go back and edit chapters I've already written. Often that will inspire me to write something new but if not, then I've done some editing so win-win ;)
     
  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is also a very important rule for me. I never force it.

    I have a pretty solid schedule for the most part. I always write in the mornings, when everyone is gone or asleep. The house is quiet, and that's when I feel most creative. So I'll sit down with my notebook or computer (typically notebook because there's less distractions), and I'll get to work. If I ever get to a point to where I think, "Man, I just can't come up with anything new right now," I'll either stop, reread what I've previously written, and hope inspiration comes. Or I'll just stop for the day all together. Then I'll pick up where I left off the next day, and I often am able to make progress at that point.

    Forcing it, to me, seems to create more problems than it solves. It makes it easy to write yourself into a hole. Allowing it to come naturally, even if it wasn't what I planned, is how I always work.

    There are many things that happen in my planning without me originally wanting it. For example, there's a bad guy working against my MC that popped up as I started planning. I didn't realized I needed him or even wanted him, but he showed up nonetheless. So I wrote him in, and my story is better for it. My MC also has an aunt I didn't know about! I had never planned on having an aunt. But about 2/3 of the way through planning, she just popped in there. lol So I rolled with it.

    I feel that this style is a good mix of planning and pantsing. The planner in me is satisfied because I know exactly where my story is going when I write. But the panster in me is satisfied because I hadn't planned so much that I took all the creativity out of it. I still get to write conversations and scenes however I want. I just know what's coming next. It's a good blend for me. :)
     
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  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your car is stuck in a rut, and you just get out and walk away, once you come back, the car will still be stuck.

    This doesn't meant on your hiatus you didn't pick up a rut jack or AAA, but you are still going to have to get the car out.

    Thus, if you stay with the car, and don't leave in the first place, it may still be possible to get the car back on track. If you just push on the gas, you're going to make the rut worse. EG, do not just keep writing in the same shit text you hate! You will get more and more frustrated.
    You're going to have to be more savvy then that. Dig out your prose. Cut all the shit and keep only good stuff, and write around that. Or start at an entirely different angle than your initial approach. Something needs to change.

    I would say that generally breaks allow you to facilitate the change your story needs. But that doesn't mean you can't come up with change if you stick to your writing. I say this because I have been stuck before and have tried both approaches, taking a break, or sticking with it but chopping up the prose. Both work.
     
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  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Whenever I am stuck and can't think of something, I go take a piss and during that time my mind usually unlocks and is amazing what happens. (This is absolutely true. I am not making this up as a joke.

    Take for example live trivia at bars. When I used to play and I had an answer I knew but couldn't get it out, I would walk into the men's room and start taking a piss, and BAM! It would come back to me like someone hit me over the head with a beer bottle.

    I know it sounds silly but sometimes you just need some kind of distraction to get your mind working again.
     

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