1. FlareWarrior
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    FlareWarrior Member

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    How do you work through things that always get you stuck?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FlareWarrior, May 21, 2014.

    Hello! I've been on a writing bender for about three days and have run a gambit of typical writing issues. One that's got me stumped right now is this: two of my characters are heading towards a relationship. I myself, in real life, am uncomfortable in relationships and all they entail. I didn't think it would be that much of an issue - I mean, I've got giant monsters running around and I don't think I'd really be super comfortable with that either! But alas, I reached a *slightly* romantic scene and ground to a halt. After an hour of trying it was to the point that I wrote two words and deleted them while yelling "LAME!".
    I've had relationships before so it's not like I'm stuck because of lack of experience. I've been having this trouble for a while now, and it's annoying because I really want to write this story but can't seem to work through this one scene!
    I'd love to hear some tips and tricks on how others work around this kind of issue :)
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Go read a romantic scene you really enjoyed from a book/author you like. See how the pro does it.

    Otherwise, maybe stick around for a while longer to fulfill your minimum requirement before you can post in the workshop, and then post something up for critique and then we'd be better able to help you. Cus right now we can't really see what you've done, so it's hard to say where you're going wrong. If it's not a lack of experience holding you back, then it's probably a writing issue - and for that we really do need to see the scene.

    My only other piece of advice is perhaps to relax. Let it go and just write it. It sounds like you're holding back on details or emotions or levels of intimacy within the scene because you're uncomfortable to feel those very things yourself. There's little cure for that except to remember - You are NOT your characters. Sure you might be uncomfortable but perhaps your character is super comfortable - take it from her perspective and not your own. It might help you loosen up.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I don't think an hour spent on a difficult scene is enough time to despair or declare yourself unable to do it without external help. My advice would be that you try a lot harder. Sometimes, it takes months, dozens of re-writes, coming back to it many times, and pressing on with the rest of the work in the meantime, before we resolve a difficult scene or a paragraph. This is a normal writing process, something everyone struggles with.

    Ask yourself, why are you struggling with it? What is it about your past relationships ( or a particular relationship) that left you feeling inadequate, or bitter, anxious, scared, confused, whatever is the emotion that's blocking you. Good luck!
     
  4. FlareWarrior
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    FlareWarrior Member

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    Oh, I've been working on it for three days now. That was just the last time I got anything on paper :p I've got plenty of little things going on in my life that are causing it to be difficult, but there's currently no fixing them and I just want to write!
    Thank you both for the advice! I just went looking, what are the minimum requirements? Someone said 20 posts? It's not even close to being viewable by other human beings right now but I could give it a quick spell check if need be.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    What often helps even more then having your work reviewed is reviewing other work. Pick something in the romance thread and review it, paying special attention to things you find difficult in your scene. Even if it's worse then yours, you'll get some ideas how to improve it, and likely this will be relevant to your own scene.
     
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  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you have to have been a member for 2 weeks (which you have), post 20 posts minimum, and post 2 constructive critiques in the workshop - so in this instance you should do as Jazzabel advised - it'd be beneficial for your own writing as well as helping you meet the requirements.

    @Wreybies is the mod so he could correct me, but I think those are basically it. Or maybe he could add something.
     
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  7. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're absolutely right, those are the requirements for Workshop privileges.

    For the OP, you've gotten some good advice already, so I'll reply regarding how to overcome difficult scenes in general:

    It depends a lot on the scene you're writing, but unless it's a hugely important scene that can change the course of the entire story or something equally crucial, sometimes I just write what I can at that point even if it's crap. Then I move on and focus on other things.

    During the moments/days I can't write, I try to do what others have suggested here, i.e. see how the pros have written similar scenes that I'm struggling with to get some ideas how to go about it. I also discuss the scene with other people and think about it, but if it's not one of those super-important bits, I wouldn't worry about it too much; you'll come back to it anyway in your consequent drafts, so the scene has time to mature a little while you gather new ideas, experience, skills etc, and the next time you get to it, you'll probably have an easier time writing it.
    If not, just do your best and move on. You can always return to it later, but I think it's important to have something there even if it's not perfection the first time around.

    Of course, if you're one of those writers who only write one draft, then the situation is a bit different, but even then you can return to the scene once you've finished the manuscript because by then you'll have a deeper understanding of the characters, their inner workings, motives, personalities etc. and that helps a lot especially when writing social interaction like romantic relationships.

    Good luck!
     
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  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's all good advice above... mine is to take it!

    btw, the expression is 'run the gamut'... a 'gambit' is something else entirely...

    good luck with your book...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  9. FlareWarrior
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    FlareWarrior Member

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    I though I had that wrong, but I've been reading so much about the X-Men lately I got my wires crossed :p
    Thank you! This is all great advice :) I've started looking into maybe starting to critique in the workshop, though I have no idea how I could possibly help :rofl: anyway, this one scene is one of those important ones that sets up their relationship. It's not so much that my wrting sucks (in general I try not to worry about that too much or I'll freeze up) but that I can't even get a line onto the page. There's nothing to submit to the workshop right now even if I could! I've got a few things I can read right on my computer, so I'll give that a shot next :) again, thank you all!
     
  10. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    @FlareWarrior i feel the same way about this in my novel, the two main characters (who are both male may i add) are in a relationship, and it was proving difficult, when i realised that if i let it flow how it should do, then we should be fine... and it is, there is nothing wrong with relationships in novels, you just have to allow it to go how it wants to, you will find that it will work, even if it does feel lame (i know i felt exactly the same when this first happened.)

    i think the lines that tipped mine over to being a well intergrated part of the novel was:
    “I might need some clean clothes” Kilnir said as they walked out into the office, and stopped as they saw Lorai and Caspiar standing there. “Err… well” Kilnir said.

    “I'm not going to ask what happened, but I can guess as much” Caspiar smiled as Isake stood there smiling awkwardly scratching his head.

    “Thank f*** for that” Lorai said. “You two have finally done it, most of us have been wondering” Lorai commented.

    as i say, let it work itself out, it will find its own rhythm in the story
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought was to suggest that you write the whole scene as a fairly prosaic friendship scene that fits into the plot and preferably furthers the plot, get it all polished up, and only then start adding little nuances to make it romantic. Tweaking something that already exists, rather than starting with a blank page, might get you there.
     
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  12. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I actually found that when I'm stuck and unable to write about something in particular, I watch movies that have a lot of these scenes. By watching these films, I can observe how people behave, and it helps me imagine what they are thinking, why they are doing what they're doing etc.

    So for a romantic scene, watch a romantic flick. Observe how they behave, how they smile, why the girl responds how she responds, the volume and intonation of her voice. This will not only get you to think about this, but might even put you in the mood and help you understand how certain romantic scenes take place.

    I had difficulty in my third novel which is science fiction, so I turned on Netflix and browsed the Sci-Fi section and watched some movies that appealed to me. It really helped get me in the zone.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I do what @ChickenFreak suggests, write the scene with its flaws then go back and revise it. I'm not sure why that works for me, but it does. It's easier for me to replace the stuff that is glaringly wrong than to write it right first.

    The other thing I do with scenes I need to figure out is act them out in my head with the characters talking out loud (ie talking to myself) as I walk my dogs. If you only have places to walk with people around, get a phone headset and pretend you are on the phone. No one notices you talking to yourself that way.

    When I say things out loud the characters would say, I can tell if they sound awkward or if the characters would really say that. Other ideas come to me as well. Yesterday I was working out a scene and it dawned on me there was a big plot hole. I kept talking and was able to plug it just by talking it through.

    And definitely read how other authors handled the material.
     

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