Friday, April 26, 2013

Springing ahead on my writing

I've managed to break through the writer's block I've been experiencing and I feel as though I'm brimming with new ideas.

I returned to some old tricks I learned long ago about breaking writer's block. I wasn't truly BLOCKED, but I sure wasn't making fast progress.

On my one WIP (a mystery story), I set a definite goal: I want it 80% done by July 4. That's 75 days from the day I set my goal. So I wrote 75, 74, 73, etc., on a piece of paper, have it by my computer, and every day, I cross off a day. Seeing those numbers marching down the page have given me incentive to sit down every day and at least TRY to write. Since I started, I'm on chapter 3. Whee!

On my other multi-book series, I was struggling to recapture the essence of one character. I have a LOT of characters in this series, both current and future, and I switch back and forth between 8 major characters as I follow their lives.

I came up with Character Traits. I decided on 6 one-word traits to describe each major character and each minor (not REAL minor, but not major) characters. That's about 20 people, and I sat down one night and really thought through each one and found a list of traits somewhere, and added them to the wiki page I have for each character.

Now when I put a character in a situation, I can go back there and say, "Well, Catherine wouldn't have done that" and realize that the scene is "out of character" for her.

This has helped me enormously, because I had some scenes that I thought were great but they didn't feel right. Now I know why. It's being initiated or experienced by the WRONG CHARACTER.

I am so delighted by these simple techniques to help me get back on track. I look forward every day to crossing off that number, knowing that I'm this much closer to a goal, or checking that character sketch and knowing just what that character should be doing.

Sometimes it's just a matter of thinking about what you want and figuring the best way to do it. It really comes down to finding what works for you -- and once you do, the possibilities are there!

Yay, me!



Jannine Gallant said...

Wow, with 20 characters to keep straight, I can see why you need a system. I like the one word idea. Six good words would go a long way to giving a character some individuality. Great tips!

Alison Henderson said...

This sounds like a boiled down version of what I do - and probably much quicker to use. Great ideas, JL!

Margo Hoornstra said...

I agree, great ideas. Congratulations on your progess. You bet, Yay, you!!