Sunday, June 1, 2008

Getting through writer's block

I've been struggling for awhile now as to where to take my story. I had the beginning done (about 80 pages), and I knew the ending, but I had no idea what went in the middle...I had no idea how to get my characters from the beginning to the end.


I tried outlining, but that doesn't work for me. I brainstormed a bit, and came up with a rough guide for the next three or so chapters. Here's a sample:

Chapter 10

-Adventures with wands! --Note: only elements

-Flower storm from cherry trees

-Belle changes self, room, etc. at home

-Discuss with others


That's the extent of my outline for that chapter. As you can see, not very detailed, but the best I could do. Then I just sat down and stared at the screen.

The result? I realized that some of the mythology linked with my world matched mythology and images I'd learned about during my college trip to Malta. OK, then, I took my characters to Malta. By doing that, I discovered more links, more ways to connect the real world and the world I'd invented. It didn't work perfectly. I had to do a lot of image and map searching to make sure my memory matched real life. And I had to change that outline, skimpy as it is, as I went--I had to change the order of things, add in clues about the ending, etc., that made one line of my outline into a whole chapter by itself, or merged two chapter outlines into one chapter. In the end, I've got nearly 10 pages written, and a clear idea of what else I'm going to write. That old inspiration is back; a Maltese carving at Hagar Qim led me to a three page description and connection to my characters that I thought of while driving home from my mother's birthday party.

Lesson learned: when writing gets tough, just keep going. Do whatever it takes. If you've got to make short-hand outline sketches and then ignore them, do it. Whatever it takes, as long as you've got your butt in the chair and your hands in the writing!
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