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Five Tips for Breaking Writer's Block

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Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:05 pm
Mythic Writing says...

Now, we all know what writer's block is. It's that horrible thing we get when we think that all our writing is horrible, and/or we can't really write anything at all. Well, I'm here to give you five, probably unconventional, tips on how to smash through the dreaded Brick Wall.

1 Turn on the TV

As strange as this may sound, that is what you should do. No, put that remote down. You are not going to flick to that cartoon you love to watch, or put on that action/adventure DVD. You are going to watch a travel show, or a documentary. Something that will get your mind working. Like Ancient Egypt? Watch a documentary on it! Love to fish? You never know what types of ideas can hit you while watching a fishing show! See a place on that travel show you want to go to? Yes?

-Where is it? Write it down, or write a description.
-Well, what type of people or creatures want to go/exist there? Write that down.
-What could possibly happen there for a plot? Got it? Put that down.
-Something else that could happen? Write that down as well.
-Who's that man/creature lurking behind the trees/under the sand? Describe him to us as well as you can.

These little exercises are going to be the start of our little 'Character Bank' which we can fall on later.

2 Browse Google Images

Couldn't find a destination on the travel show, huh? Well, have a look on Google Images. Put in a description of a place you'd love to go and look at all those Images! Over 100 000, I'd say! Can't decide? Pick at random! Do the same things that you did for step 1. Place it in your Character Bank!

3 Open the dictionary to a random word

This one is simple and a lot of fun. Simply open the dictionary at a random topic and *whoosh!* create a sentence based around the word! Got it? Expand on it so that it's a paragraph long. Add in a few elements from your Character Bank (put those you use somewhere safe! You never know when you might need them again...).

4 Go for a walk and chat to strangers (The Smart Way!!)

You need a notebook for this! Take a parent or guardian (if you're a little young to do it on your own) or friend out to the park, the train station, the bus stop, the war memorial, the library, and ask someone about a really fun thing that happened to them within the last week. I would aim for people around the age of your intended audience.

See that old man sitting alone on the park bench? Go and ask him for his life story. If he looks a little scared or wary, pull out your notebook and pen, and sit ready to make notes. If he asks what you're doing, tell him! He might even add in a few more sensational things to get that plot in your mind rolling.

Old people love to tell those younger than them what's wrong with the young people today, and you will always be able to use this as a character development exercise! After taking all those notes, thank him politely and return home, or find another person to ask.

The notes from each of your queries can be used to plot the development of the 'character' - that kind old man. See what the events were that would have changed him. These can be kept as plot points, or you can take character traits, events, settings, anything from them. Try composing as story simply by twisting a few things. Keep those notes in a special place with your Character Bank.

5 Don't Throw Anything You Write Away. EVER.

The MOST important in this list. Never throw anything out. No matter how bad you think it is, ask someone to look at it. If they say it's bad, make a photocopy, or a new file, and start to edit it on the copy. Try to make it work.

If it doesn't, you now have the original to start again with, and the copy, edited, to tell you what direction not to go with on your next try. Just keep trying, no matter whether you think you've explored all avenues.

Can't finish it? Change the setting. Change the time. Change character traits. Change anything. The world of this story is bound only by your imagination.

Keep all of your drafts and your original with your Character Bank. Your Character Bank will become a great source of amusement for you in your old age, cackling over all the little tidbits that you managed to think up.

And just think. If a kid comes up to you sixty, seventy years from now and asks for your life story, what are you going to do? Give him your Character Bank, of course, and give him a tale worthy of the best author ever.

And just think. That little scenario got you thinking about it, didn't it? Write it down and add it to your Character Bank. You never know what you'll be able to do with a few scribbled lines in a few years.

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Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:36 pm
gyrfalcon says...

These are great! I've never even heard some of them (which, for me, is rare) so this was really helpful--thanks darling!
"In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function...We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~C.S. Lewis

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Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:16 pm
Nolan says...

Those are great ideas, thanks.


One to add though is eating candy.
It always does it for me.
Especially Reese's Pieces.

That, and listening to Tom Waits.

"Don't worry about my sanity, dear. After all, it's pointless to worry about something that's nonexistent."

-Nolan Logan

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:48 pm
Chirantha says...

I can't how you came up with all of those ideas but they certainly work,especially the last one.

Thankyou. :D

Though,I am not into the one about talking to strangers.

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Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:55 am
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Wanderer777 says...

Hey thanks for these! I'm going to have to try em out! I always get writers block and it takes me forever to get back on track! Thanks!
´╗┐´╗┐Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

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Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:33 pm
Silver Pen says...

This is wonderful! Thank you so much!! I haven't heard of any of these, and this all is a huge help. :D

Poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just don't get - and never would get.
— Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe