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Writer's block

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:45 pm
craz33me says...

I'm just curious,
how does everyone help with writer's block?

I need some help!
"Love is a lot like playing the piano, at first you play by the rules, but eventually you begin to play by the heart."

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:47 pm
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RacheDrache says...

First, identify what sort of "writer's block" you have.

1) Nothing you write is "right." It all rings wrong. The crumple-up-the-page-and-chuck-it-in-the-wastebucket sort.

You're trying too hard and you've gone and forgotten why it is you write, whatever reason that is. Find it again. Uncrumple a few pages and instead of frowning, really look at it and really read it. Why is it no good? "Because it is!" is a child's answer.

Read some of your favorite stories ever. Write something totally crazy and wild and ridiculous.

And if you get into that state think you're such a bad writer, that you're hopeless and I'll never put two words nicely together on paper again, never tell a good story, I have this challenge for you:

Write me the dullest, most boring, uninteresting, worst story you can think of. I bet that no matter how hard you try to write badly, you won't be able to manage it.*

2) You have so many ideas! So many. Too many. And when you go to write, they're all clamoring for attention and the result is you just stare at the page because you have no idea where to begin.

Ask yourself, "Where does it begin?" "What happens first?" Or, if you're more character oriented, "What's Bob doing at the moment? Where is he?" If you can't answer those questions, maybe you need to do a little more thought-decluttering. Or maybe you can find a beginning.

Or maybe you're not the beginning sort. In which case, and you just have a particular scene in mind. Write that if you so please.

3) You want to write, but you "have no ideas."

Well, that's ridiculous. Of course you have ideas. And they'd be good ones if you'd pull them from yourself instead of trying to come up with good ideas. You can't make yourself have good ideas. But what you can do is go fill up your creative tank. Go for a walk or shut yourself in your room (and get off the computer and chuck away your phone and iPod) and make yourself do absolutely nothing. Just think and ask silly questions and let your imagination run free.

Or, maybe use your iPod after all, and instead of singing along randomly to your favorite song, really listen to it. What is the singer really expressing? What sort of person would feel that way, and in what situation? Let your imagination go for it and poof, viola, a character.

4) You've got the Stuckness, and you have no idea what to write next.

I used to get this a lot because I'm a spontaneous writer--I don't do that outline thing. So I'd get to the end of the scene and then wouldn't know what to do next and would get frustrated and meander and write crap and get frustrated and sometimes not work on the next chapter for weeks. And then I'd asked myself evenly, "Well, what happens next?"

That question isn't a question of "What's the next big plot point?!" but of literally, what happens next. Your characters just escaped narrowly from Danger and Doom and are currently in suspended Pause mode, lying exhausted on the grass. And what literally happens next is that they stay panting on the grass for the next few minutes, not saying anything at first. And then they laugh at the close encounter. And then they sit up. And then they have to go find a place to sleep that's not in a big open grassy field.

Maybe that 'what happens next' won't show up in what's written, but it happens nonetheless, and it's somewhere to go from.

And... well, that's about it.


*idea and reasoning borrowed lovelingly from Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write. Highly recommended.
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Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:41 pm
Leahweird says...

RachaelElg seems to have answered the question already. It really does depend on what kind of writers block you have. Stuckness is a problem I struggle with, so a thought I'd share a couple ways of dealing with it, in case they turn out to be helpful.

I tend to get stuck when my characters are having a serious disscussion or a fight. The ammped up tension makes it harder to figure out what my characters are trying to express. I'm not sure why this happens, just a mental thing i guess.
Anyways, when this happens I often have to get another person involved. I ussually talk to my sister and ask her what she would say or do if whe were such and such a character. It's like roleplaying. Doing this gets me into a state of mind where I can continue the scene.

This is a very specific problem, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's useless to you, but I thought I'd share.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:41 pm
craz33me says...

I mostly have the stuckness or the two many at once kinda thing.
I'm very spontaneous about my writing.

"Love is a lot like playing the piano, at first you play by the rules, but eventually you begin to play by the heart."

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