Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Writer's Block--Is It Always a Bad Thing?

After my marathon writing/revising session last Sunday, I've been finding it hard to finish the current draft of Twinned Universes. This problem has made me think more about writer's block.

Generally when I read discussions about writer's block, the author takes one of two approaches. The first is to deny that writer's block exists and to compare the profession of writing to a job with completely different skills and say something along the lines of "You never hear a plumber complain about plumber's block." (As if it isn't possible for any worker in any profession to have a bad day.) The other approach is to discuss the various internal/external problems the writer is having that can contribute to writer's block. While this may be helpful, there's a third point about writer's block that in my opinion often gets overlooked: there may be a problem with the project itself that is contributing to the block.

In my own experience, I've found that I can get blocked or stuck on a scene if I'm not immersed completely enough in the point-of-view character. Sometimes I can break through this by starting the scene over. My most recent issues with Twinned Universes have to do with starting a scene without knowing enough what I want it to accomplish. (Even though I'm normally a pantser, I outlined the novel and the changes I wanted to incorporate before beginning my revisions. However, I veered off the map toward the end of the book. I guess I should go back and consult my outline, huh?) What I did to get unstuck was to write down what loose ends I still needed to tie up and when they should occur in the story's timeline. That helped me decide where I needed to add scenes and what they had to accomplish.

I still have a lot of work to do to finish with my developmental edit and return my story to my editor by the end of September. In the meantime, have you ever been stuck on a story and then realized you needed to change something to get unstuck?

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