Thursday, November 4, 2010

Writing 101 - Writer's Block

Hi. Doctor Tolan here (never mind the German accent and monocle)

Writer's Block is a symptom of several possible maladies.

1. Life. This is an unfortunate disease that intrudes on our writing often, and distracts us to...well, distraction. Often, you can clear up your symptoms simply by allowing the distraction to finish with you (or you with it). Walks, vacations, and certain dosages of alcohol in moderation have been known to help.

2. Loss of focus. Your story simply isn't that interesting to you, or perhaps you find yourself OH LOOK A SQUIRREL!!! The cure is to walk away from your story, or close the curtains.

3. Lack of vision. Folks just sit down and write a book. Yep. Sit down and write a book. Eventually, the road runs out due to a wrong turn, and they sit there...yep, writing a book. Yep. The cure for this is to start with a chapter outline so you know how the book starts, where its going, and how it will end. Sure, you will kick the outline apart, but that's what outlines are for.

4. Over eating. Or, in this case, expecting to completely finish a book in ONE pass. Mr or Ms Perfection quickly gets overwhelmed with a case of indigestion as they keep going back, going back, and going back in a perpetual spin/rinse cycle until malady #2 kicks in.

5. The tangles. If character A does this, and character B does this, then what will character B do with character A and ...OMG I forgot what this will do to character C! This knot can best be undone by simply jumping over the scene and moving on - then revisit it later when you know where it needs to go.

6. Stormrage Syndrome. Simply put - YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. You lack the skills to write properly, are too impatient to learn them, and suddenly find yourself fixing a spacecraft with a screwdriver. Learn the basics, be patient, and avoid anything standing before you that's tall, dark, and has bat wings.

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