Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Surviving A Block - Part 2

Last time, I discussed the first four actions that you should take when you hit a block.  Here is the last four.

When altering your story to fix the problem, it might be a good idea to improvise.  Change the roles around a bit.  For example, you could change the irritating little sidekick (that you hated anyway) into the villain’s grunt that frees the hero from the tar by accident, instead of creating an all new character.  Come up with as many different solutions as possible and consider swapping roles or adding new dimension to a character (if you were to give the villain’s daughter a crush on the hero, you can save him from the tar that way).  Find alternate uses for things.

Value Living
Value the story you want to tell.  Don’t just change the ending so that it can fix your problem.  It does not help you to write a story that you don’t want to write.  Keep in mind the things that you want to say with this story, or the ending you want to have.  This may seem in conflict with Vanquishing Fear and Panic, but it is simply the flip side of the same coin.  There is a fine line, so make sure you stay in the middle.

Act Like the Natives
Do what other writers do to get past blocks.  Take a walk or a shower, play a musical instrument or listen to calm music.  Whatever works for you (if you don’t have anything like that, try out other people’s methods to see if they work for you).  Walking is scientifically suggested to improve your creative ability, and talking to other people and getting their ideas is also a great way of loosening your creative muscles.

Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills
Know your craft.  Know all the moving parts of a story.  Learn the basic skills before you get in a situation like this one.  Furthermore, know what you want from your story.  If you don’t, you’ll just stumble around endlessly, changing one thing after the other.  Get the necessary skills for your particular story.  The things you’ll need (such as how to place fake clues etc. in a mystery novel) to complete your story.  Do this before you start the story.  You don’t want to have a hundred pages of text that you later find shouldn’t have been there.  When you’re in the midst of a block, go with your gut, but for now, learn basic skills.

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