If you write fiction, chances are you sometimes feel stumped about some aspect of your story. How do you get past a fiction roadblock?
Writing Tip for Today: If I encounter a plot or story problem, the more I try to solve it, the worse it gets. I often must step back, take a little time away from the keyboard before I can move forward once again. Try these things:
- Do some mindless activity. It really does help to garden, vacuum, wash the car or something similar. While my hands are occupied, my sense of story can take over. Some people actually get answers during their dreams.
- Read. Because we’ve been talking about analysis, it may help to read several novels in the same genre as your story and map out how different authors dealt with your problem area. Take a day or so between the analysis and your next writing session on that problem to avoid copycat syndrome.
- Consult the Experts. As a last resort, consult writing books. The reason I say “last resort” is that often writers will understand the writing advice on a logical level but still feel frustrated when it comes to applying the advice.
- Know Your Characters. For me, a better plan is to know my characters more intimately. Listen to their wants, needs, frustrations. Sometimes I let the character speak to me in a letter I write to myself.
- Be willing to rewrite. If I cling to what I’ve written previously in hopes of saving time and energy, I’m short-selling myself. Be willing to start over again. Gotta run–I’ve got vacumming to do.