I saw an interesting quote on Facebook by John Rodgers – “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block, you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.”
Once again, I find myself at odds over the story for Mystic Storm. I don’t why Zephyr’s book is such a challenge, but there is no way I’m not delivering this book.
First off, I’m not suffering from writer’s block (honestly, I don’t believe in it), but I’m having what I think of as “organizational” issues. The book is plotted out and I’m proceeding according to my plan, however, I seemed to have strayed off the path.
How does that happen?
I often let the story wander in other directions as I delve deeper into my characters. As a result, there are portions of the timeline that have been skewed. Rather than stopping completely to fix it, I’ve decided to re-read what I have, take notes, then keep on trucking.
Because the end is not changing. It’s only how I’m getting there that might differ. If I stop right now and try to fix the book, I know it’ll stress me out and I might never finish Mystic Storm.
Since I know there are people out there who would like to know what I did to Zephyr at the end of Mystic Ink, I can’t leave them hanging. Not to mention, I have Devlin’s book – Mystic Hero – waiting in the wings.
So, if you’re spinning your wheels on a plot, might I suggest skipping over that part and moving on? I’ve found that it’s much easier to keep writing and deal with it later because as John Rodgers suggests – the issue may solve itself, but only if you keep writing!
How does everyone else cope when the story is off kilter or not quite right? And do you agree with John Rodgers?
And if you have a free moment, visit the Scribes. I’m interviewing Gerri Brousseau about her debut novel – A Pirate’s Ransom.
26 thoughts on “Never Give Up, Never Surrender!”
I do like you do. I keep on writing and deal with it later. It seems to work for me.
That generally works for me Janna! I’m all for trying something new if what I’m currently doing doesn’t work. You know, that definition about insanity right?
That seems like a great tip for any kind of writing and thanks for sharing Casey, hope you keep on writing. 🙂
No worries there! I plan to keep going. No way is Zephyr getting the better of me!
I wish I could do that! I’m such a linear thinker that I have to figure out what’s not working before I move on or I end up totally in left field. I don’t mind letting the characters lead me on a merry chase to get from point A to point B, but for it to make sense, I need to know a) why they are going there, and b) how it moves the story forward. I ran into this problem with WANING MOON. I tried to force my way through some sticky points rather than stopping to re-evaluate and correct. There was a lot of words going onto the page, but they weren’t moving the story forward. Now in editing, I am forced to move chapters around and delete entire scenes to make it work. Not sure if I’ll try the “plow through at all costs” method again.
I hear ya PJ! You gotta do what works best for you. And I do think different stories can demand different methods, especially when you are writing a trilogy! Last thing you want to do is paitnt yourself into a corner.
thats what Im doing right now; ran into a little snag; will come back to it later; right now, I want to finish the wip; the ending will not change. Thanks Casey!
Happy writing Heather! I’m always happy when I can see the end in sight!
I go back and re-read the whole thing to make sure I’m getting the complete picture. That usually helps me figure out why it isn’t working. I write beginning to end, like PJ, so it’s easier to fix when it’s only a little off kilter. We read much faster than we write, at least I do, so it’s much easier to feel the flow when you read what you’ve written. Sometimes I lose sight of the storyline in all the little stuff I’m writing. Reading the manuscript again helps me refocus.
Sometimes re-reading helps me. With Mystic Storm, it sat while I wrote another book, so I had to go back and read it because I lost the thread of the story line. I agree that you have to do whatever makes sense!
I tend to re-read the whole thing, but because I’m not a linear thinker, I’ll write those scenes I have in my head and then go back and try to fill in the blanks. Then, once I get to that scene, I usually have some work cut out for me in order to make it work.
But hey, it keeps me writing. Huh. I think maybe I should follow my own advice right now. Been stuck for weeks! 😉
I do that too sometimes Meggan. I know I need to get from point A to point B, but sometimes I know something is missing or needs expanding upon. Some of my favorite scenes in my books have often been things that just pop up out of the blue. I love that they magically fit too. Well, most of the time. If it doesn’t fit then it comes out and goes in the scene graveyard.
Like you, I know the beginning, turning points and end. I like to let the characters tell their story and once I have it down, I go back and fix it up with fine tuning. If my characters run off on tangents, I stop them though by reminding them it is NOT always just about them and we have to keep telling the story. Great article. Keep On Keepin’ On!
Thanks Gerri! And a big congratulations on your debut. I have A Pirate’s Ransom loaded on my Kindle!
I’m with PJ and Jaleta. I have to make sure my plot is not tipping over some precipice I’m not aware of. It may fall and go splat, or sometimes it lands on a nice ledge I hadn’t seen which has a much nicer path to the end. I need to know before I take the more difficult trail.
But I AM finding that writing each book requires a slightly different process, as well. What worked for my previous books may not work for the next one.
I totally agree Tam. I’ve noticed the same thing. Some books require more linear thought than others. While others I’ve written have been more like a patchwork quilt.
I’m still staring at a blank screen on Chapter six. This is where the murder happens. I can hardly skip on by. Yesterday I went back and re-read everything, tweaked a bit, wrote backstory on another character (one that appears only by name in this book) and so on. Letting Chapter six simmer on the back burner a bit longer. If nothing appears today, I’ll work on another project for a bit. I know the story is happening, and will appear at my fingertips, meanwhile, I may have to do a bit of other work while it stews in the back of my brain. Walking helps.
Oh I feel your pain. I kind of hit a road block like that in Mystic Storm. I’m at the point where there should be a love scene, but I don’t feel like they are ready for it yet. So I’ve been dancing around it, trying to get them where they need to be. I had the opposite problem with Misfortune Cookie. My hero and heroine couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I had to reign them in!
Casey, I have two very different books going at the same time. *If I Fail to write today in one, I always find I can write in the other. I too don’t believe in writer’s block. If both fail (thank God that hasn’t happened) I just write to put words on the paper and then you know, once you clear the garbage out of your head, the rest flows.
*yes pun intented.
I do that too Marian. That is how I got Misfortune Cookie finished, only I had three books going. Now I’m down to the two again. And I agree sometimes it’s better to right junk then nothing at all.
Sometimes I change the ending as well, or the characters do. And I can’t let time have much of a say – messes with my head.
So far my problem is with the beginning. I always, always question whether I’ve started a book in the right place. I agonized over The Undead Space Initiative’s beginning. In the end, I stuck with it as it was written. So now, rather than freak out, I’m just trying to ignore that concern until I’ve had time away from the completed manuscript. Not sure if it will work or not!
All one can do is try to write and push through it. Sometimes our mind gets scattered and we can’t focus. If a story goes off I go back and look at it from the start. See why it went off. Sometimes it takes a small break and things fall back on track.
I have been very scattered lately Savannah. I hate when I stare at the page, knowing what has to go there, but I can’t quite make my fingers move. Does that happen to anyone else? In the end, the scene gets written, but still it makes me crazy!
I hope by now you’ve worked your way out of the snag. I’ve been there. It’s tough. I usually need to fix whatever it is that isn’t working before moving on. But if it stresses you out to stop, don’t! 🙂 I read somewhere (wish I could remember who suggested this) that, when you’re stuck, brainstorm a list of twenty ideas that could possibly work for your sticking point. The first half-dozen or so will be crap. But after that your brain will start to see possibilities you overlooked before. I’ve used that method several times and it’s worked for me. Loved the lighthouse picture!
Thanks Jill! I appreciate the encouragement and the tips! 🙂
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