Month: September 2012

Writer’s Cul-de-Sac

As an extension to my last entry, “Writer’s Detour,” I thought I’d mention another hazard on the road of writing. See, I have a tendency to get tripped up in my own plots. I seem to write myself into a plot corner at least once in every book. Writing my way out of it is sometimes easy, sometimes not, but never is there a clear way out.

I’m unclear… What are you trying to say?

When I was writing the previously mentioned unpublished first novel, I’d written myself into a doozie. I was utterly stumped. I had an event that absolutely had to happen, or else there was no story. In order for this event to occur, two other events needed to take place. Problem was… one of them couldn’t happen.

One evening, a friend and I were sitting at our local restaurant hangout. I had the manuscript with me (written in longhand, this being before I even owned a computer) and was fretting over the problem, staring at the offending pages. My friend was an avid reader, so I thought I’d voice the problem to him. I pointed to relevant lines of text as I described the problem, finishing up with, “But that event can’t happen…” My voice trailed off as my finger traced a line under a few words on the page. I blinked stupidly. “…unless I delete this sentence.”

My friend nodded sagely and said, “Glad I could help.”

In my most recent day of writing, I realized I’d unwittingly set myself up with a seemingly insurmountable barrier to the plot moving forward. It was something I’d (obviously) never thought of before. Damn that pesky thing called factual accuracy!

Maybe I’m getting better at this whole writing thing, because – after less than two days of fretting over it – I had one of those moments of inspiration where the solution came to me. And I’m pretty happy with it, too.

And remember… If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

Let’s hope my next dead end is so easily escaped.

Posted by vmwales in Inspiration, Plot, Writing Process, 0 comments

Writer’s Detour

Writer’s Block is something every writer deals with at some point or other. There are a lot of theories as to what’s really going on when a writer experiences blockage. Many seem to think it’s because they just don’t have any ideas. More accurate, in my view, is the view that you have too many ideas, and are just not sure which one to pick.

You know you want one.

But recently, I’ve come to realize that Writer’s Block, for me, often is my brain telling me that I need to deviate from the course I’ve been on. It’s as though I have a Writer’s GPS telling me I took a wrong turn and is re-routing me.

Yesterday, for example, I struggled with the direction of a particular scene, trying to choose between two different endings to it. When it was still unresolved after an hour, I knew I was experiencing Writer’s Detour. Sometimes, this results in a scrapping of the entire scene. In this case, it took the form of pushing me to consider taking the scene in a direction I hadn’t thought of before. And though I won’t know for a while, I’m confident this new direction will be a good one.

Sometimes detours come from external sources and not my own brain. When I was writing Wish You Were Here, for example, a friend of mine insisted that I make her into a character in the book. Now, I could have created a minor, walk-on character for her. But I saw some interesting potential for what could come of it. For those of you who’ve read the novel, I’m referring to the character of Sianon. Her inclusion added a depth to another character who needed a more prominent role in the story. I’ll always be grateful to her for giving me a way to do this in a fashion I never would have thought of, otherwise.

Answers… That way.

Writing is a lot like life, this way. New people in our lives take us in directions we never would have expected. And when we’re unable to choose between A and B, we need to consider C. In writing, as in life, embracing new ideas usually results in a more interesting experience. Detours give us new scenery to appreciate.

Enjoy the journey.

Posted by vmwales in Writing Process, 0 comments