Oct 30, 2013

Overcoming Writer's Block

The first time I wrote my book, everything just sort of fell into place.  Everything felt brilliant, hilarious, and it was a project I fell in love with.  But when it got rejected over and over again, it was time to adjust some things.  I rewrote my book, doubled its size, and ended it in a completely different way.  Ah...NOW it was perfect.  Again, I sent it out, only to have it rejected once again.  Hmmm...I was sensing a problem.  I sent it out to a trusted friend, and found out some suggestions that would require a total rewrite, and that would introduce a character that I was reluctant to add.  I mulled it over for months, and at last, came to terms with what I had to do.

 Rewriting my book from humorous non-fiction to young adult fiction was no easy task.  Instead of a bunch of funny anecdotes, I now had to have one long, continuous plot.  People had to actually talk to each other, and I needed more characters.  Because I was no longer reminiscing, I had to actually make up scenes and conversations, and that took some brain power, trust me!  There were many, many times where I reached a road block, and I had no idea what on earth I was supposed to do.  I did everything I was supposed to do:  I took a break from it, I did a freewrite, but nothing was working out for me.  I finally decided that the reason I could no longer move forward was because I didn't like where the scene was headed, or I was bored by it, and didn't like reading it.  It's always hard deleting several pages worth of story, but in the end, it was worth it, because I opened up another path, and that ended up being one that allowed my story to move forward.  If you're not in love with what you're writing, no else is going to love it, too.  Sometimes, you have to accept the fact that your plot is dry, or just simply wrong.  You can't be afraid to start over.

Another road block can come from lack of character personality.  By knowing your character's personality, you can let them direct your story.  My favorite parts in my books are when my characters created their own scenes, and where I felt that they were in charge of what was happening.  When I feel like I don't know how my character is going to react to a situation, or don't know what they're going to say, it's time to reevaluate who they are, and develop them better.

And finally, freewrite, freewrite, freewrite!  This can sometimes be hard for me, because I feel like I can only write when I know what I want to say.  I've forced myself to just write what I'm thinking, even if it looks completely dumb written out.  This is my "thinking out loud" process, because I write exactly what's on my mind, even if it's my dumb little inner conversations (please tell me others have them, too!).  I've actually gotten a lot of my problems solved this way, and have developed a more interesting plot.  Most of what I write is garbage, but every now and then, something huge pops out, and that's what makes the freewrite so valuable.  I also like to go through my freewrite, and highlight parts that I definitely want to put into my book, then make a list in chronological order of events I want to have happen.  It's nice having a road map to look at!

I just read an article on writing novels, and it said that if you aren't absolutely completely in love with and devoted to your book, you'll never get it finished.  If you've reached a road block or writer's block, or whatever it is that you want to call it, make sure you're loving what you're writing.  Don't be afraid to start over.  Cut and Paste is one of my most favorite Word features, because I've been able to rewrite without having to start from scratch!

Writing a novel is hard, but with enough passion, it can get finished!  Good luck, and happy writing!