How do I get past a dreaded block?Help

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Babybear9923
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How do I get past a dreaded block?Help

Post by Babybear9923 » 29 Dec 2015, 21:08

Hi I have started writing a couple of stories but always get stuck by the dreaded writers block. It's not that nothing comes, it's just nothing for that particular story. I start one story, get stuck and start on another. Even when I go back to the first story nothing comes.

Please give me some ideas on how to overcome this so I can finish at least one story rather then have several incomplete stories lying around.

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Post by moderntimes » 31 Dec 2015, 23:07

If you tell yourself that you're "blocked" you certainly will be. First thing is to completely eliminate that image from your mindset.

Now... you need to give more details about exactly where you get stuck. For example, let's assume you were writing Jack & the Beanstalk. After you put Jack as a poor kid on a farm and then he elects to climb the big stalk, after he's in the giant's castle, are you lost at filling in details about the castle and maybe some of Jack's side adventures there? Or do you not even get Jack into climbing mode?

Reason I'm asking from that viewpoint is to see at which point you are losing steam. Is it after the setup and midway? Is the sticking point maybe approx the same place in each story?

When I am writing my novels, I occasionally go a bit dry (I refuse to say that I'm "blocked" because I'm not -- instead I'm just at a turning point). So what I do is skip ahead a bit and start to write there. I write detective stories, so maybe if I'm in the middle of a meeting at police HQ and it's kinda dull, let's say it's chapter 22, then I just go ahead a bit and write ch 25 which is a romantic encounter or ch 32 which is the big car chase. Now I'm just making up chapters here, but the point is that I re-start my writing at a totally different place in the story, to regain freshness. I write the "car chase" scene and then I soon find that I can get back to the police HQ scene and finish it up.

Now you're writing short stories but it's the same -- there's a setup where you start the story by introducing the protagonists, then the exposition where the bulk of the story goes, then a switch or change or some incident which is the crux of the story, and then the resolution afterward. If the story is a longer one, you'll have more than one crux point and therefore a couple of semi-resolutions.

So are you getting stuck with the initial setup, the exposition, the crux incident, or the resolution? If you can identify a specific place in your stories where you keep losing steam, and it's the same for each story, you may be able to identify the reason due to the certain locale.

There may also be another aspect of this situation which I am not trying to put you onto a spot about, but you must consider this... is perhaps your story idea too thin? In other words, are you trying to stretch a very small incident or thematic idea too far? Realize that the deeper that a story idea goes, the more introspective and the more "mature", the longer a story is needed to first introduce it, then expand it, then resolve it. Give this some strong thought and consideration. For example, if the story idea is "Mary has a frustrating staff meeting at work" it might need to be expanded into "Mary has some ideas for improving the work in her legal office but each time she tries to give them to upper management she's shut down because, she thinks, she's a woman and maybe is too new at her job." Which would call for a more complex and longer story.

So maybe, just maybe, your initial story ideas are a bit to sparse to develop into a full story? I dunno -- you're the one who can answer that one.

Part of this might also be that you're simply not yet practiced or developed that well as a story writer. Nobody starts fully out and writes great stories immediately (maybe a prodigy might) but understand that writing fiction requires 2 things: the innate talent and then the developed skill. This is exactly the same as a physical skill. If a man is 5-2 it's unlikely he'll ever be a pro footballer, but if he's 6-4 and strong and fast, then this innate talent (physical) can be developed into a career with his becoming skilled.

So you may have the talent but you simply haven't yet become skilled at story writing yet -- and hey, it takes a lot of hard work. Ideas and concepts may be in your head but you still have to develop the writing skill to get them onto the page (or screen).

This does NOT mean you're a bad writer. It may simply mean that you need to hone your craft. For example, I had many false starts when I started my private eye novels. My first one was the result of maybe 5-6 trials until I got into harness and finally wrote the whole book. Then I wrote #2, then #3, and I'm not working on the 4th novel of the series. It's hard work and you have to keep plugging away.

So maybe you're getting stuck or running out of steam because you need to further develop your skills. Which is perfectly okay. If that's the case, let me suggest that you take a couple of your "false start" uncompleted stories and compare them to a published short story from a writer whom you enjoy, and dissect both your story and the "expert famous writer" story side by side, and see how that author moves past the points where you're getting stuck.

Best I can do on NY Eve, because my girlfriend is wanting to ring in the new year and by golly I'm gonna do it!

Please provide us with a bit of further help -- are there specific points or places where you're getting stuck, same for each of these uncomplete stories? If so, let us know. And any more details will be helpful.

Good luck and keep plugging away, too.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by doyle5 » 01 Jan 2016, 11:00

Usually I have several different projects going on at once. So, when I get writers block or simple get bored of one project. I move onto the next. It's a good way to keep a fresh mind. I also think it helps me pay attention to detail. Instead of pouring over one project, changing and worrying, I expand my horizons and not be so tied down by a single plot.

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Post by moderntimes » 01 Jan 2016, 12:32

Well, sure, doyle. But Baby says that the block occurs on the 2nd or 3rd story too, and returning to the first one later doesn't help. So there's some other reason Baby is running out of steam.

And I think the word is "poring", right?
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Post by KateNox » 04 Jan 2016, 07:08

When I have the dreaded block, I would just read some masterpiece novel or watch a heartbreaking movie. I found that has incredibly empowering effect on me.

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Post by moderntimes » 04 Jan 2016, 10:50

Baby still needs to give us more info -- do the blocks occur at the same point in the story, such as the mid-exposition or just after the intro, or where?
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Post by Chels14 » 04 Jan 2016, 12:53

I would try going for a run while listening to calm or inspirational music. If you are just stressing over thinking you have writers block that could be a big part of the problem.

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Post by moderntimes » 04 Jan 2016, 13:12

Chel, my point exactly. Worrying about having a writer's block will be an excellent way to induce one.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by pafjlh » 11 Jan 2016, 13:27

I find that one of the best ways to combat writer's block is to walk away from the writing. Do something else, one of the most effective things I have discovered doing is taking a walk. Somehow doing this helps me to clear my mind and come up with an idea of where to take my writing at that point. Also, there is going to the bathroom, as silly as this may sound there is reason why this is called the restroom sometimes going there can help a person come up with an inspiration or idea. I think the best advice though is walk away from the writing and do something else to help to unwind. Somehow when we stress too much on our writing the ideas don't flow when we do something to relax suddenly the ideas come forth.

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Post by moderntimes » 11 Jan 2016, 13:54

I don't necessarily find that I have to get totally away from my writing. I have discovered that if I'm stuck with a certain point, I just skip back to an earlier section and work a while on revising that, and soon I can return to the sticking point and go ahead nicely.

But whatever works for each writer.
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Post by Brandi Noelle » 27 Oct 2017, 00:12

I also have several writing projects at one time, so the minute I'm struggling with one, I switch over to the next. I used to fight my way through and always ended up hating everything I managed to get down. I have learned to write what I'm inspired to write, even if it means changing a course I had set out for myself halfway through. It's amazing how your characters can take over a story and move it into a direction you never even imagined.

Another tool that helps me is to write out of sequence. I used to force myself to write my scenes chronologically, even if I wasn't particular inspired to write the scene that "came next." Sometimes the struggle is because the scene is all wrong and other times, it is simply not ready to be written. My method now is to write the scenes I'm inspired to write, regardless of where they fall in the story. Sometimes I know the exact timeline of my plot and pick and choose what scenes I want to write when, and sometimes I had no idea I was going to do a certain scene until it begs to be told. What ends up happening is that oftentimes jumping ahead and writing a scene further into the plot can actually help an earlier scene that you were struggling with. Not sure if this might help you as much as it helps me.

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