Wanna know my secret to obliterating writer’s block?
WORK ON DEVELOPING THE FINER POINTS OF YOUR STORY AND YOU’LL FIND WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT AND BE INSPIRED TO DO SO.
Yesterday, I filled out my chapter outline for Snowe Storms and methodically raked through it as if it were my personal zen garden; evening out all the weak spots until I found myself with a storyline that was energetic, mysterious, and intriguing.
But afterwards, when I sat down to write a chapter or two (which is what I’m almost always inclined to do, even when I’m not sure where to start), I found myself immediately, creatively befuddled.
I wasn’t able to answer how my characters would speak, or approach certain situations, or feel about their current state of existence. I felt overwhelmed by all of the work ahead of me and hesitant that maybe I didn’t know how to write the characters I had created.
Normally, I would force my way through a bout of writer’s block for principle’s sake. But nowadays I’m thinkin’, maybe the olden way of forced writing isn’t the way to go. Maybe there’s a better way to resolve my writer’s block.
So today, when I found myself itching to dive into the Writer’s Trench, I told myself:
“No, silly billy! Remember how you dove straight into the Trench with your first book?! You aimlessly, painfully fluttered about directionless for week’s until you finally wore yourself out and came grudgingly trudging back into the Development Dunes. Don’t be like old you; be like new you, for the love of shooting stars!”
When I wrote my first novel last year, I loved the idea of being so inspired, so motivated, so ensnared by my story that I could just pants my way through the whole thing without having to do any prerequisite development and I would create a story that would proudly get me awarded a publishing contract on my first go around.
But this time around, I’m calling shenanigans.
And so today, against one-half of my wishes, I forced myself to pull back and work on development.
Instead of doing my classic, hasty, spontaneous habit of speed-writing, I focused my energy on character and concept development so as to better understand the powerful, albeit mostly lilliputian, intricacies that make up the story I’ve created.
WHAT DOES MY DEVELOPMENT DUNES PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
Much like walking on an actual sand dune, I find it’s easier to allow myself to slip and slide in any direction I’m pulled when I begin developing the finer points of my storyline.
I start with character development by conducting an interview with either my hero or my villain; however, if a minor character peaks my interest for some reason, I allow myself the leeway to jot down their interview as well.
(Want to know what my characters and I discuss in their interviews? Download my Character Interview Questionnaires and get to know your character’s today!)
So far, my one rule for every form of development, be it a character interview or location research, is: KEEP IT MINIMAL.
As much as I want to feel prepared to write in the best dialogue, with the correct intentions, and in the right timing as my characters, I also want to maintain creative freedom in the moment when I’m bogged down in the Writer’s Trench.
So I keep my development details minimal.
But that doesn’t mean that I leave every unknown detail to chance.
If I can’t answer why a character has a particular motive, or I can’t resolve how one scene leads to the next, I take the time to figure out a quick, plausible solution; but then I leave it at that. I’ve found that when I get to that scene in the Writer’s Trench, I can usually give the solution more authentic depth than if I had thought it through entirely during development.
So leave room for creative connectivity.
Somehow, someway, when you’re in the Writer’s Trench, your brain will fill in the otherwise ridiculous gaps that you leave throughout your development phase.
Just remember to trust the process.
I can’t tell you how many times I’d sit down to write without knowing how certain facts or scenes would come together, and my mind would just come up with the most fantastic justifications for some of my most daring plot twists. Plot twists that, in the moment of creation, seemed like they’d still be hard to explain through my writing, but somehow I’d find a way to validate them.
HOW IS MY SECOND NOVEL PROGRESSING?
If you’re following along then you know I’m only in Development Dunes as of today so I haven’t quite begun formally writing the novel; however, I’d say it’s going swell!
Snowe Storms is, thus far, seriously intriguing for me. And I love that this time around, I’m being kind to myself and my process by giving myself ample time to create the novel and by respecting my instincts when I think things need more patience or attention.
Especially since this story, unlike my first one, is a story that actually thrills me!
Snowe Storms is set in our current time and involves government conspiracies, alien cover-ups, love triangles, double agents, candy canes, and poisonous mistletoe.
All in all, it’s the little, unexplained hints that I’ve given myself throughout Development Dunes that I’m positive will make a huge difference in my first draft.
Those little hints (like poisonous mistletoe) are hilarious to me. I have no idea how in tarnation I’m gonna fit them into my storyline, but you can bet your favorite cat I’m gonna make it happen and it’s gonne be a fun surprise.
I’m also excited to explore writing a badass female lead character. I’ve decided to dedicate my writing to mostly female lead characters, surrounded by strong female and male sub-characters, and both female and male villains, so I’m excited to see what I can create to make Snowe unique from what’s already out there!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post…
DAY 4: What It’s Like To March Into The Writer’s Trench With The Gumption Of A Thousand Wookiees
I’ve been looking forward to this part of the journey ever since I came up with the Snowe Storms concept! But that doesn’t mean the experience will be all smooth sailing…
Wish me luck!