Another two hour commute into work today thanks to the derailment in Penn Station on Monday. Two derailments in just over two weeks. Gotta wonder what’s going on.
If there’s one silver lining in that ominous transit cloud, it’s that it’s given me a chance to work through a block I was having in Book #2 in the At the Shore series.
It’s actually funny considering that I’m giving a workshop this weekend at the Liberty States Fiction Writers monthly meeting on plotting using the Hero’s Journey. I should heed my own advice on what’s essential in the story when the heroes reach that first black moment.
In my story, it actually starts with a black moment, but I won’t spill on what that is and spoil it for you. What I will do is offer up some tips on what to do when you’ve hit a block in your writing and how to work past it.
1. Watch a fav movie or read a fav book. There’s a reason why they’re a favorite. Maybe it’s the characters. Maybe it’s a surprise you didn’t expect or that warm feeling you had that stayed with you long after the story was over. Tap into that magic to find out what’s missing in your story.
2. Read a new book not in your genre. Sometimes you’re too caught up in what you think is expected in your genre and you need something different to blast you past the expected.
3. Read a book in your genre. Whether the book turns out to be bad or good, what was it you liked or disliked? As a reader of that genre, did it meet your expectations and if not, why? If it did, how does what you’re writing work in comparison? For me, I always turn to a master in contemporary romance: Nora Roberts. No matter what I get a good read and her stories make me take a step back and wonder about how I can touch readers with the same kind of magic she brings to the stories.
4. Take a long walk or a shower. I don’t know why, but both of these somehow make me focus on the problem at hand and how to work through it. Maybe it’s the ions in the water or those at the beach, my favorite place to stroll.
5. Visualize the scene before you try to write it. People often ask how I can write so fast and part of it is that I often visualize the scene in my head before I even sit down to write. It prevents just staring at a blank screen for way too long. When I do have a block about that scene, I will often see it in my head multiple times and from different perspectives. Oftentimes I will have to rewind it and play it again, altering the direction of what’s happening. Erasing what doesn’t work and starting again until there are enough good bones that I can finally sit down and flesh out the scene when I’m writing.
I hope these tips help you work past any writer’s block. If you’d like to know more about the Hero’s Journey, visit my Resources for Writers Page with lots of good tips or if you’re in the area, come by the Liberty States monthly meeting. If you’re not in the area, think about joining and listening to one of the many recorded workshops we have for members. My workshop this weekend is being recorded!