On Writing: Force the Conversation
December 4, 2014 39 Comments
No matter how good of a planner you are, no matter how much you outline your novel, you’re going to get stuck at some point.
Telling a writer that he’s/she’s going to inevitably hit a writer’s block is like telling a whale that it’s going to eventually get beached, no matter how hard it tries to avoid it.
But it’s reality. And you’ll find pages upon pages and articles upon articles on how to avoid (or get through) writer’s block, and I almost feel like I need to apologize for contributing to the cacophony of mixed and mingled suggestions.
But I won’t.
I also won’t claim that my way is the right answer or even the best way.
I believe everyone has a different way of getting through writer’s block, just like we all have a different way of accomplishing our writing.
I’m simply just going to share my way of getting through it. And bare in mind, I’m writing three books at once, so I run into it pretty frequently.
How do I get past it and go to bed each night with yet another couple of pages under my belt?
It’s simple: I write.
On my teen book which I’m working on, now titled, These Great Effects, I had my main character sitting on her bed, flipping through her crush’s phone to learn more about him. I needed another scene with her interacting with her mom, so I had her mom enter her room (“Knocking as she entered, of course”), and… I hit a wall.
But how did I get through it? I forced the conversation. Sure, there’s a lot of awkward silences and hesitant comments as I struggled through the scene, trying to decide why mom had come into her room.
But the more I wrote the scene out, stumbling along, finding my footing, learning about my characters, I hit on a line that will eventually turn the book into the direction I want it to go.
(Mom asks Adele, the main character, to attend one of her dad’s campaign gatherings with him, which is where the plot of the story will pick up.)
The point is, you’ve got to struggle through those scenes when you just don’t know where it’s going to lead you. It might take a few tries; you might change it tomorrow or you might change it a year from now. The point is, you just built in one more step to get the rest of your book completed.
And even if it’s a little wobbly, you can always go back and fix it.