Even after writing for years, do you still get stuck with “writer’s block?” What do you do to break through?
As a former journalist, having a deadline to meet helps me. I belong to a critique group that meets once a week, so I know I need to bring pages for that.
Another tip I’ve learned is to write a scene out of chronological order—write your ending first, or maybe you know what you want to write somewhere later in the story, but you don’t know how to get from where you are now to that scene. Go ahead a write it. It often will give you ideas of what you need to write to fill in the gaps.
Ask yourself 5 'what if' questions. For instance:
1. What if he/she decided to kill someone?
2. What if they won a million dollars?
3. What if they had quadruplets?
4. What if aliens landed in their garden?
5. What if they turned into a frog?
Apparently, Stephen King plays a variation of this game called, “Wouldn't it be funny if…” to come up with his horror ideas.
In Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury describes a kind of collage of words. He would make a list of nouns, i.e.: the Lake, the Carnival, the Old Woman, the Foghorn. Referring back to the list later, he frequently found inspiration for a story (and quite often, the noun pair became the title). Interesting aside: his short story “The Foghorn, became the seminal prehistoric-monster movie “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.”
I’ve also done a similar exercise: make a list of nouns and a list of verbs. Randomly pair them to come up with strong actions or descriptions.
What are your tricks for breaking through that brick wall?
|Shared by Heidi M. Thomas. A native Montanan, Heidi now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series, Dare to Dream, and a non-fiction book Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women, have recently been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.|