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!


PJ Hoover said...

I love when cool inspiration comes to me - especially when it seems almost magical! There's just no way to explain it.
Yay for getting through. And for using your driving time to multitask!

Unknown said...

I do my best thinking in the car!

Keri Mikulski said...

Good stuff! :)