Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are you stuck on your work in progress? Have writer's block?

Here's a place to brainstorm. I've found if I start writing what I'm stuck on, I often come up with ideas to further my writing.
In fact, it happened just this morning. I was replying to Ginger Simpson's blog in a comment to my comment. Actually her blog was about questions for her. I had asked if she plots or just writes. She commented back that she just writes until her character stops speaking to her. In a previous comment she gave examples of how to unblock oneself.
Since I write the same way and my characters have stopped speaking to me - This is the work that I plotted and have had trouble with for over a year. I had already used the examples she provided in her comment and still was stuck. But as I wrote and explained I was trying to find a way to keep the ex wife of my hero living in his home and thought about her breaking her leg and needing surgery and staying off of it for at least six weeks,  more ideas came to me. I figured he couldn't turn her away. She had given up her job and apartment in NY - oh and she's also pregnant, albeit from another man. She's also a spoiled little rich girl and I came up with the idea of Patrick calling her parents to come and get her. Now how did I get out of that one? Simple, they're on an extended cruise and won't be back for several months. Looks as though Patrick is stuck with her.
So what is this going to do to the relationship he just started with his new school secretary (he's a principal) who lives across the street. Not to mention his five year old daughter who took to her mother like ants on cookie crumbs as soon as she saw her. Now mind you, the five year old didn't remember her mother, she left when Emma was an infant.
There's more that I can go into, but I don't want to give the whole story away. Besides, that's not the point of this blog. 
If you have a problem with writer's block and need to brainstorm, here's the place to do it. Leave a comment about your story, where it's blocked and where you want it to go. Together and with help from others, maybe we can get you going again.

24 comments:

Ginger Simpson said...

I love that my blot stimulated some helpful thoughts. Over the past ten years, I've learned a lot, but there are always times when we need to brainstorm and come up with new and innovative ideas. I'm a frequent visitor, so I'm looking forward to seeing that other peole share the same type of problems.

L. K. Below said...

A great topic, Ro! I've got too many to name that I'm blocked on. I'm not so sure it's actually a "block" I'm having at the moment. Some, I know where I'm taking it, I just can't muster the words to do so.

Good luck with your WIP!

Roseanne Dowell said...

Thanks, Ginger. I, too, look forward to seeing what others have to share. I love to brainstorm and sometimes just writing about it helps me. However, I can't just sit and write about it for myself. I've tried, that doesn't work. It seems I have to write to someone as if I'm in a conversation with them. I did it not long ago with my writing buddy and had the same results. I came up with my own solution.

Roseanne Dowell said...

L.K. Just shoot off one. Let's see if it works for you as it has for me. Just ask what if.....like what if Rosalie found Dirk wrapped in another woman's arms? (I did that in another book - of course then I had to come with a logical explanation for it). I don't know what your book is about, but sometimes if you just start writing that, ideas come.

L. K. Below said...

I'll pick one and try it out. Thanks!

Roseanne Dowell said...

You can try it out here if you want.

L. K. Below said...

Well in one WIP, a romance, the antagonist is a man who has been looking for Vanessa obsessively. He beats information out of people and even on the run, he's managed to find her. In this WIP, the ending is looming too quickly. I need something to preoccupy him in the middle of the book, right after he finds out where she works but before he discovers where she's living. In my head, there are only so many things I can have him do, and that's why I'm stuck. The love interest (Max) is a cop. Any suggestions on a scene or two I can add with the antagonist in it or as a result of the antagonist? Should he go after the manager of the store trying to get an address?

Roseanne Dowell said...

Maybe he's arrested for something - mistaken identity. Eventually he proves his innocence and can continue his quest. This could take some time having him locked up, no bail, bring in a lawyer to help prove he didn't do whatever. Or.. an accident. He's laid up in the hospital for some reason, surgery, or from the results of the accident. You can bring in other characters and of course all the while, he's going crazy in his mind because he was so close to finding her. Any ideas, Ginger?

Ginger Simpson said...

He's in a scene with the P.I. he hired and telling him he will no longer need his services. It might go something like this:

"I was going to call you. I no longer need your help because I found her on my own."

"Oh really? I'll bet you didn't know anything about the dirt I uncovered on your Miss Vanessa."

You've created another instance for an exciting plot point and he can either believe what he hears or he can try to prove the facts wrong. This gives you another whole direction to take the story while waiting for him to actually approach her. Just a thought.

L. K. Below said...

Thanks to you both. You've given me some food for thought.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Hope we helped. Ginger I love that idea. Take it one step further and maybe he and the PI get into a fight. Later, the PI is found murdered. The police suspect him. Delay the action of him finding her while he tries to prove his innocence.

Cheryl said...

Very interesting thoughts Ginger and Roseanne. I like both ideas you propose. I think it depends on how long you want to tie him up. Getting him arrested could take a while for him to work through. Maybe he cures his anxiety by stopping by the local bar and he gets in a brawl with some smart aleck who is getting in a woman's face. I'm thinking part of this guy's personality might be that he wants to protect his woman, so when he sees this guy pushing himself on this lady at the bar, he loses it and really beats the crap out of him. But, if they check out his rap sheet, that might keep him away too long to be good in your story.

Cheryl

L. K. Below said...

LOL no, in this case, he's the bad guy. The book is mostly from Vanessa's POV, and she's trying to get away from him. Getting arrested might take too long, not to mention put him right in Max's (the good guy and cop working to protect Vanessa) hands. I like the PI idea. I never thought that he might be working with someone to get to her, he was always on his own, but it makes sense... except he's already terrorized half of buffalo trying to get information from them so I'm not sure if a PI would work either. It needs some thought LOL but very good ideas. I just need to piece something together now.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Well if nothing else, at least it has you thinking again. I'm sure you'll work it out. Just start asking those "what if" questions.

L. K. Below said...

I will. Thanks, Roseanne!

Roseanne Dowell said...

Let me know how you do. I still have to get back to mine. So many interruptions.

JerryR said...

hey Roseanne, my dilemma is trying to write a 5k story. It deals with a guy name Dane who falls in lust with a guy named Bobby, who is younger than him. His problem is that he's way too shy. When he finally gets the courage to even want a date with Bobby, his ex-lover Pierre arrives after a long absenc of being away. When Pierre discovers Dane is attracted to Bobby, Pierre, who usually gets his way and takes what he wants, Dane must muster up a lot of courage to sway Bobby his way before his ex yanks Bobby from his grasp.

Uh, does that make sense? I believe the story should begin with the arrival of Pierre. At least one conflict with Dane and Pierre which of curse concerns Bobby. A scene with Pierre and Bobby who tells Pierre he's not interested in him. Pierre's determination to get Bobby. Dane trying to work up courage to sway Bobby his way.

I'm having trouble figuring out if those are sufficient amount of scenes and enough conlficts to make a good plot. What do you think?

Jerry Race
Seductive. Sensual & hawt romance!

My site: http://authorjerryrace.webs.com

Cheryl said...

Hi Jerry,

I hope you don't mind if I chime in for a second. As I listen to this, I don't think Pierre should be in the opening scene. I would like to meet Dane and Bobby first and see a development of Dane's longings for Bobby before Pierre is introduced. Maybe Dane refers to how Bobby is so different than Pierre from time to time, which would help create some backstory for the character, but I still feel his actual introduction shouldn't come in right away.

I'm curious to hear what Roseanne thinks about this too.

Best of luck.

Cheryl

Roseanne Dowell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roseanne Dowell said...

Hi Jerry, I agree with Cheryl as far as Pierre shouldn't be in the first scene. I wouldn't have the comparison. Start with Dane's POV and an action scene betwen Dane and Bobby. Set it up - where are they? What's happening around them? Dane wants to talk to Bobby, but feels to shy. Are they at a bar? Maybe he finally works up the courage to buy him a drink. Where ever it is, make it action and show Dane's longing for Bobby. Then introduce Pierre, maybe in Chapter 2. This is pretty much your typical love story. I'd throw something else in as a conflict. I've heard it said, when something isn't working, throw in a murder. So...maybe there's a murder. Maybe Dane is involved in some way of solving it. This would make Bobby take notice. And maybe Pierre tries to make it look like he's the hero. But of course Bobby would see through it after a time. Maybe Bobby is drawn to Dane but when Pierre enters the scene again he's torn between the two of them. And he's unsure of Dane's feelings. Besides, he can't trust Pierre. After all, didn't he leave once? I think it's doable and good luck with it.

Roseanne

Jim Hartley said...

You people are talking a "writer's block" related to the story. My problem right now is "too much other stuff block!" Since early December we went on a cruise, had ONE week free, went to visit relatives, had a few days free, and then hit the start of tax season. So much else has been going on that it's hard to sit down at the computer and open one of the WIPs I have that I should be working on.

Anyone got a good way to deal with this kind of a "block" problem?

Roseanne Dowell said...

Hi Jim, I had this same problem when we came back from vacation and with the busy holidays.
Anyway, now that you're back, sit down some place quiet and open that WIP, start reading from the beginning. I'm pretty sure you'll make some changes along the way. By the time you get to where you stopped writing, your mind should be full of ideas and you'll just keep writing. If you only have time to write for ten or fifteen minutes a day, do it. Make it a point. Heck even if you only have time to write one sentence, at least you're writing.

Cheryl said...

I hear ya. This month I took my first break from coordinating virtual book tours in over two years. My first kid's book came out in August and I had been so busy promoting that and my clients' books that I felt totally drained. It's been tough getting back into the swing of things. Top that off with the kids have two snow days this week, and I sure as heck haven't felt like doing anything but playing around on the net.

But today, I said no more. I have too much to do, so I did what needed to be done, I'm taking a quick break, and then it's back at it. I'll take Saturday or Sunday off and then get back to my regular schedule.

As far as choosing which WIP to dig into, this might not work for everyone, but I just downright refused to start anything new until completing my current project. I found I had 4 or 5 manuscripts in various stages of completion, but was never getting to type The End on any of them. I focused on one last year and am about halfway done. I keep plugging away and my critique group is much happier that I am submitting continous chapters instead of part of this one month and then part of that another.

Good luck!

Cheryl

Roseanne Dowell said...

Congratulations, Cheryl. That's the way to go at it. I'm currently revising a previously published book that I want to submit. There's a bit of head hopping in it and I'm not sure how it got published that way. I could swear I already revised this once to get rid of it, but can't find that version. Either that or I didn't revise as well as I thought. So, I'm back at it. I also have to come up with a new name for it at my publisher's suggestion. Coming up with names for my books is difficult enough, but this one had a name before I started writing it. So changing it is going to be doubly hard. My WIP is sitting again, but I did work on it a bit this morning.