Spell It Out

One of the things genealogists are told to do when they hit a brickwall is to either write out the problem, listing what they know, or tell it to another person.  The reason for this is that sometimes in the course of explaining it, to ourselves or someone else, we see things we miss when we focused just on the problem itself.

Similarly, that might help you get going if you are ‘stopped’ in something you are writing.  Start writing down what the problem is, even if the question is merely ‘What happens next?’.  Then consider the possible choices – list them.  Sometimes that effort alone – the mere act of writing – gets you moving and gets your mind working the problem better than just staring at a blank page thinking ‘What do I write?’

I’ve often seen writing advice that when you have writer’s block you should simply write.  That’s all very well and good, but if you could do that you might not be blocked.  So focus on something you CAN write, then embellish it a little, then a little bit more and so on.  Hopefully that will start your fingers moving, with the pen or the keyboard, as you choose.  Find something in your story, or that you want to be in your story, or about your story and commit it to paper/screen.  Describe characters.  Describe the finale.  Jot down ideas on the environment they inhabit – what is around them?  Skyscrapers, barns, castles?

For instance, Main Character finds a Magic Ring

  •    Where did he find it?    (I don’t know)
  •    Where did it come from?     (an evil magician)
  •    How did the magician lose it?  Or did he hide it?  Or did he place the ring FOR someone/the Main Character to find?   (the Evil Magician is about to be captured so he hides the ring in order to keep it away from his captors)
  •    Based on the How, where might the Evil Magician and the Main Character both happen to be to make this possible?     (a forest that is between the lands where each lives)
  •     What brought the Main Character to that forest so that he could find the ring?  If the ring is hidden, how does he/she happen to find it?
  •     Who is about to the capture the Evil Magician?  Why?
  •     How did he come to be in the forest while trying to elude capture?
  •     What does this Magic Ring do?  Why do the Magician’s captors want it?  What can the Main Character use it for?

Those questions can help you see what is still missing in your story, and perhaps guide you on what to write.

And, personally, I don’t feel compelled to write in a straight line.  Sometimes when I’m stuck on one part of a story, I work on another part – even if I only do a few lines or paragraphs.  I try to insert them roughly in the correct order so they essentially form something of an outline for where I’m headed.  This will sometimes mean that later you need to tweak details in order to fit the pieces together, but it keeps you moving.

Maybe we should think of Writer’s Block not in terms of block=wall, but rather block=blocks.  As in children’s blocks.  With the alphabet on them.  Don’t try to tear down the wall.  Try to rearrange the alphabet blocks into words.

Try it.  See if it helps you.

baby-blocks-letters

[image found at:  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/%5D

 

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