Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Encouraging the words to keep flowing

I recently sat in my room and stared at one of the most beautiful mountains and lakes that I have ever seen (I wish I could have been there but funds and my car just won't make it to Canada *tear*). But YouTube was awesome. I started wondering if my words like the water could ever just keep going. Unfortunately, I found that I couldn't keep writing. Or I couldn't keep editing and instead kept climbing mountains and ending up at cliffs. So I went and researched several ways to keep writing and these were the best answers that I came across:

1. & 2. Jump Around & Just Start Writing.
I came across Jessica Doll's blog and I noticed her #s 4 & 5 really kind of stuck out to me. I mean how many times as writers do we get hung up on trying to write our books in order? I am crazy like that on writing, but when I take tests in school I skip around all the time because I feel less restricted that way, and it helps me relieve tension when answering questions I do know rather than struggling with the questions that I don't. So if I know how I want the next chapter to go, why don't I just stop where I am and just skip to what I do have confidence in writing and perhaps work backward. It is a little easier to work backwards sometimes and get your characters to the point they need to go if you've already been there. Then she pointed out just start writing. I started another blog, just for this purpose. I wouldn't say that you have to do that, but if you have the space where you can just write about anything. Sometimes that in itself will be your muse to what you were stuck on. Or perhaps like Jessica's approach just start writing and ramble a little in your story. More than likely you will just cut most of that out when you edit, but at least you got those creative juices flowing again!

3. Draw!
Yes, yes, I understand that not all of us who are artists with our words are also artists with a pencil or pen. But when you are discouraged by writer's block sometimes a little doodle will get the ball rolling.  I practiced this with my main adult characters who start off fighting but end up falling slowly in love for each other. Typical storyline right? I mean I used to beat up guys as a kid b/c I had no clue how to just say I liked them. So I gave them the noogie of love instead. Well my fiance is probably glad I've learned to use my words and hasn't had to suffer from a love noogie. But drawing my awkward stick figures in a sword fight actually created a whole scene for my novel that I wasn't planning on putting in the book in the first place. I even added a little input from my fiance on how the quips being thrown during the fight would go from a man's perspective.  Then we started doodling together... well all scribbles set aside and many doodles of his that will not go published on any page ever (his art is so terrible, my 7 year old had to ask him "What is that?") we created a fun kind of side escape that not only relaxed the tension from the frustration of having writer's block to actually fueling a writing frenzy.

4.Take the Rock. Crush it. Keep moving.
Okay, I recently had writer's block due to discouraging and negative reviews on my book. I gave my book to my father to review my first three chapters and he didn't make it past the first page before giving it the worst review I think a father should give his Princess. It was so uncool. I cried to my sister and told her my book must be horrid. She read it and then reminded me that my dad was not an Epic Fantasy reader nor a really big fantasy fan and she gave me a few more pointers that were a little less scathing. But I was about to completely stop writing making this huge Mt. Vesuvius critique out of something as small as a pebble really. Yes, you get bad reviews from some, but don't let it stop you from writing. You can't get better from quitting. I recommend using #3 and drawing a picture of you and them instead as your characters and let them battle it out in the squiggles. Then move on with your book (throw away the evidence... I'm sure if that person saw your art it wouldn't go well.)

5.Get Some Fresh Air
The world is a writer's oyster! Anything from shade from a tree. The way light plays in a child's hair to the ant hill you just stepped in, can inspire some writing. Sometimes where we are writing is too dark or damp. Even if it is raining outside sometimes it is worth opening the window and putting a few towels in places so that everything doesn't become soaked to just inhale the goodness and be inspired by what you see, hear and smell. I would not recommend doing that by electronics though... please find another window or just take a break to go outside and play in the rain.

6. If You Have Children...Talk To Them
If your book is totally appropriate for a child (tween/teen) talk to them about a scene in the book. Especially if the character is about their age. Sometimes the answer you get will make your characters more believable and may even shock you to how mature a child really is. A lot of times we view children as less mature than they really are.  It could help your character development and even give you an idea of how extreme high school really is (if you are writing a YA fantasy especially). Even if you have a 5 or 6 year old it is amazing how their imagination works and even if you didn't get the scene you were looking for from your tot, they tried really hard for you and you might have gotten a good laugh.


7.Draw A Map (Epic Fantasy Writers Especially)
Okay I recently had to do this. I don't have a clue what in Hades I thought I was doing writing an epic fantasy with no map of my fantasy world. I found I had written almost my entire book and when it came to editing I almost kicked myself. I was reading out loud to myself and had to stop and said, "Where the hell am I?". I had no clue where in the world my characters were. I imagined them all looking at me like "Finally, we have been walking around this place wondering the same damned thing." I mean it was horrible and I was very shamed at myself. So I spent 2 days and created a fantasy map and corrected many directional flaws, and even realized that the city that I was sending them to was in the opposite direction of where I wanted them to go. (I smh at myself really, but its kind of funny at the same time.)  If your fantasy is in an actual city, I do recommend that you take a brief look at your city's layout and at least try to be somewhat accurate. I guarantee you someone from your city might be like "There is no park there..." Granted it is a fantasy but a peek won't hurt.

I hope that you have found these helpful. I know I have gone through many of these and they helped me.

Oh, and some inspiring art that I have used to help me before: art done by  BobKehl


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