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Author Topic: Writer's block  (Read 2286 times)
Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« on: October 26, 2013, 11:13:19 pm »

Having been once more afflicted by the curse of every writer, and finding my usual solution failing to illicit the desired effect, I thought I'd start a thread here to see if I could find a solution from amongst the other members of this great and glorious forum, and (hopefully) in the process potentially aid other affectees of this most dangerous condition.
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walking stick
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 11:50:29 pm »

Where/Why did you get stuck.

1) Wrote yourself into a plot corner.

2) Wrote yourself into a state of confusion.

3) Went off a character.

4) Read some other author's brilliant take on the same theme and lost confidence.

5) Just can't face a blank page/screen.

6) Exhausted

7) Other.  Please give details.
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Madasasteamfish
A clanger waiting to be dropped......
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09madasafish
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 11:58:04 pm »

Erm, I'm going to go with 8 ) None of the above Wink (although it's probably closer to no. 7)


The problem I have is that I know what I WANT to have happen in the plot and HOW it happens, but I can't think of how to express it in words (it's a problem I've had multiple times). I've been tempted to leave it and move on to the next section, but given how I want to break up the plot I don't feel comfortable doing that since I want the different sections to flow into one another continuously and when I've done it in the past I've had to rewrite/rearrange huge sections of the text.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 05:03:22 pm by Madasasteamfish » Logged
Lady Chrystal
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 12:12:20 am »

Work on a completely different project. I find a "block" may apply to one project, but not another.

And while working on another story, your brain will subconsciously be tackling your blocked one.

Hope it shifts soon.
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 12:16:03 am »

Work on a completely different project. I find a "block" may apply to one project, but not another.

And while working on another story, your brain will subconsciously be tackling your blocked one.

Hope it shifts soon.

Thanks, I may have to try and find something else to work on. Thankfully the block is starting to dissipate, but perhaps leaving it for a while might help me overcome my problems.
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walking stick
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 09:39:20 am »

Think about the ways the next bit of plot would be described by your worlds version of :-

a) A character too closely involved with the action to see much of what is going on.
b) An investigator who is looking for the accurate facts after the event.
c) A reasonably reliable newspaper.
d) The tabloids or Fox News
e) Professionally paranoid government security who see everyone as a threat to their country and/or it's ideals.
f) A hagiographer writing how wonderful it all was/must have been to be there.
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CPT_J_Percell
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 03:43:50 pm »

Erm, I'm going to go with Cool None of the above Wink (although it's probably closer to no. 7)


The problem I have is that I know what I WANT to have happen in the plot and HOW it happens, but I can't think of how to express it in words (it's a problem I've had multiple times). I've been tempted to leave it and move on to the next section, but given how I want to break up the plot I don't feel comfortable doing that since I want the different sections to flow into one another continuously and when I've done it in the past I've had to rewrite/rearrange huge sections of the text.

Been there too many times.

Work on a completely different project. I find a "block" may apply to one project, but not another.

And while working on another story, your brain will subconsciously be tackling your blocked one.

Hope it shifts soon.

I have 3 books and too many idea's for other books!

ATM my way passed it is to go and make something. I have a separated thread for that in the tactile forum.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 03:48:17 pm by CPT_J_Percell » Logged

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Stormcat
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2013, 01:22:12 am »

Oh dear, i seem to be having a bit of writer's block myself. I just don't know how to progress to the next scene!
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Cassandra Sheffield
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 06:44:46 am »

It's bothering me as well. I don't know how my characters would act in this certain scene, but it's an important one with a big effect, so I can't skip it.

Stormcat: What do you want to happen next? (In a general plot sense, not details.) What has happened recently? (Is your story posted here? If so, I'd be glad to read it and see if I could be of any help.)
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Heckler
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 10:10:52 am »

Sit down and write a synopsis of the plot, if the present part of that plot has you blocked, write a chapter furher on and come back to it.

If your characters have a back story write an episode from that back story that will add experience to the character that could come in handy later or add another character who could come in handy later.

Whilst not writing (i.e. doing housework, cycling, sitting on the bus) start to replay the scene/chapter you intend to write as a movie in your head, not only will you find your prose gets richer because you have seen details you wouldn't normally have seen from the POV of the characters but with no pressure to actually record the scene it can develop more organically.
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Lady Penelope
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 05:19:31 pm »

Whilst not writing (i.e. doing housework, cycling, sitting on the bus) start to replay the scene/chapter you intend to write as a movie in your head, not only will you find your prose gets richer because you have seen details you wouldn't normally have seen from the POV of the characters but with no pressure to actually record the scene it can develop more organically.

This has worked well for me in the past; then again, I'm a very visually oriented writer, so I tend to imagine my scenes like a movie as I write anyway.  The key thing is to let it simmer on the backburner of your brain while you are doing other stuff.  Allow your imagination to have fun with the scene without the added pressure of trying to get all the words down at the time (much less get them down perfectly at the first go!), and a lot of times your subconscious will supply a way around your block.  Then, when you get it down on paper (or screen), use those ideas.  The final version might not look exactly like what you imagined, because the scene often has a way of mutating between the imagined form and the written form (especially when it comes to dialogue), but that's OK too.
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Daisuke_sanada
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2013, 04:11:48 pm »

I personally am a fan of playing a scene out like a movie in your head, even sometimes putting yourself in the roll of the character. Make yourself the director try to picture it as clearly as you can in your head, move items around shift people, it's your world and your story so do with it as you see fit...
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CPT_J_Percell
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 06:59:28 pm »

I personally am a fan of playing a scene out like a movie in your head, even sometimes putting yourself in the roll of the character. Make yourself the director try to picture it as clearly as you can in your head, move items around shift people, it's your world and your story so do with it as you see fit...

I did that with some of my sword scenes. It helps having props to play with!
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pakled05
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2013, 05:13:33 am »

I do most of my plotting between the alarm and the snooze button...Wink Just a thought.
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Arabella Periscope
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2013, 04:21:03 am »

Ask someone else how they think it should unfold.  Then the part of you that knows when it is right, when it really pleases you, when it is finished, etc., will be irritated.  Your creative self will wake up and say, "No no no no no no, that's absurd.  What ought to happen is that he. . .  and then it comes over the . . . but because there is no . . . which is just when she realizes that all along . . . and then the streetlamps go out, and the sound-barrier smashes . . ." And off you go!
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2013, 11:49:35 pm »

My first advice is to write the scene without worrying too much about how it will work just so you have something down. This will give you the opportunity to see what works and what doesn't.

If your problem is simply stylistic this should help, if you're sill  struggling it may be that there is a more fundamental editorial issue. It's not uncommon to  have an element which although it has a lot going for it in itself simple doesn't work with the overall structure of the piece. This happens with all forms of creation, sometime you have a good idea which is best saved for a different project.

A universal constant is that whatever you do it is very rare that your first vision will be exactly right, sometimes it's just a case of a bit of tweaking but more often it is quite a long and winding road between that first good idea and a good finished product.  This is the time when you have to work out exactly what it is that you are trying to do.

If you are struggling to get a character from point A to point C it may be that your plot is wrong, if you're trying to force a character to do something that doesn't make sense then there is definitely a problem somewhere. At this point you can either bodge it or have a proper thing about exactly what story you are trying to tell and what needs to change for it to make sense.
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Daisuke_sanada
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2013, 05:58:00 pm »

another way i read in a writers journal book was to just kinda brain storm and right stuff down no matter how it looks, just to get those ideas flowing and the like...just write and write and write no matter how odd or silly it seems
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CPT_J_Percell
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2013, 10:18:11 am »

another way i read in a writers journal book was to just kinda brain storm and right stuff down no matter how it looks, just to get those ideas flowing and the like...just write and write and write no matter how odd or silly it seems

The Standered NaNoWriMo method is to just leave the block and go on to another chapter.

One thing I have done is to put <FEED ME> in the middle of a section and move one. A fellow NaNo writer told me that she used. <THIS BIT SUCKS> to do the same job as mine.

I have just Finished Nano and to take my mind of my steampunk books I am actually working on my fantasy series.
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Daisuke_sanada
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2013, 11:13:30 am »

I personally am a fan of playing a scene out like a movie in your head, even sometimes putting yourself in the roll of the character. Make yourself the director try to picture it as clearly as you can in your head, move items around shift people, it's your world and your story so do with it as you see fit...

I did that with some of my sword scenes. It helps having props to play with!

I agree props are always a helpful tool to figure the motions of the characters and where you want them to go.
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4_0_4
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2013, 02:16:46 pm »

Having been once more afflicted by the curse of every writer, and finding my usual solution failing to illicit the desired effect, I thought I'd start a thread here to see if I could find a solution from amongst the other members of this great and glorious forum, and (hopefully) in the process potentially aid other affectees of this most dangerous condition.

mushrooms.. if you get lucky you will never be short of words again

4-4
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pakled05
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2013, 05:03:37 pm »

I've heard Ecstasy did the same thing in the 90s. I'm reminded of a (don't have the exact quote) from Raymond Chandler on it; "just have someone come in with a gun...Wink'

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4_0_4
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Hi Forest , hows Fanny?


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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2013, 06:35:22 pm »

I've heard Ecstasy did the same thing in the 90s. I'm reminded of a (don't have the exact quote) from Raymond Chandler on it; "just have someone come in with a gun...Wink'



Look up McKennas fungi theory on evolution, its quite interesting esp considering mushrooms spores capacity to survive in space and how they got there...

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The Corsair
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PixieOnTheMic
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2014, 09:00:19 am »

I feel like I can offer a slightly different perspective.

There's no such thing as writer's block. I think creative lulls absolutely exist but feeling like you can't write because you have no ideas or you you're never quite in the mood or any of the various things grouped under 'writer's block' are, to put it gently, kind of bullshit. I didn't always hold this view.

I'm essentially writing in every spare moment, and write solidly from 4 pm to about 7 or 8 pm every day. I do this no matter my mood, no matter how uncreative I feel, no matter how few ideas I think I have. If you're working on a novel then you sit the f*** down and write like it's your job. Eventually, you learn how to deal with feelings of 'writer's block' and you get better at working through it. If you sit down and write something when you have writer's block and it's terrible then who cares? You still wrote a bunch and you can go back and change it. Shit, you can re-write the same page 50 times if that's how long it takes you. You know what won't get that page written? Sitting around and not writing because you have 'writer's block'.

So I guess to summarise, I act as though writer's block doesn't exist (though yes, sometimes it's almost impossible to write for various reasons) because otherwise it lets you off the hook somewhat. When you feel you have writer's block, sit down and write. Write the most terrible thing you've ever written. The difference between you and the unsuccessful author is when you had writer's block you wrote the worst passage in the world, when he had writer's block he wrote nothing.
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Lady Chrystal
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2014, 09:15:39 am »

I feel like I can offer a slightly different perspective.

There's no such thing as writer's block. I think creative lulls absolutely exist but feeling like you can't write because you have no ideas or you you're never quite in the mood or any of the various things grouped under 'writer's block' are, to put it gently, kind of bullshit. I didn't always hold this view.

I'm essentially writing in every spare moment, and write solidly from 4 pm to about 7 or 8 pm every day. I do this no matter my mood, no matter how uncreative I feel, no matter how few ideas I think I have. If you're working on a novel then you sit the f*** down and write like it's your job. Eventually, you learn how to deal with feelings of 'writer's block' and you get better at working through it. If you sit down and write something when you have writer's block and it's terrible then who cares? You still wrote a bunch and you can go back and change it. Shit, you can re-write the same page 50 times if that's how long it takes you. You know what won't get that page written? Sitting around and not writing because you have 'writer's block'.

So I guess to summarise, I act as though writer's block doesn't exist (though yes, sometimes it's almost impossible to write for various reasons) because otherwise it lets you off the hook somewhat. When you feel you have writer's block, sit down and write. Write the most terrible thing you've ever written. The difference between you and the unsuccessful author is when you had writer's block you wrote the worst passage in the world, when he had writer's block he wrote nothing.

I agree. The best cure for so-called writer's block is to write.

I always have at least two writing projects on the go, as different as I can manage. So if I can't find anything to write in my current novel, I work on the radio play I've got on the go, or the factual book that needs editing. If I'm in a position where I can't write, I think about writing - and often scribble plot points and other ideas in my notepad or on my mobile phone. Or phone my radio producer or a writing buddy to bounce ideas around.

The Corsair makes a very good point - if it's rubbish you can always edit or rewrite it. But if you didn't write it down, it's never going to improve.

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walking stick
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« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2014, 09:59:00 am »

I've recently been given a version of this advice myself so I have resumed on a book I gave up on because my writing couldn't match my idea of it.

Also this quote attributed all sorts of places, "Great books aren't written, they are rewritten."  To which was added "Your favourite books are not the first versions that the author wrote."

Hope everybody has a lot to write in the future.



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