Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Scene That Will Never End

How do you push through a scene that has you hung out to dry like week-old carrion? If you're doing NaNoWriMo, then hopefully you're flying full throttle, internal editor shoved into a corner in a body bag and you're barely looking at the screen with 30+ thousand words burned into the atmosphere behind you.

For the rest of us, and for those that hit a snag with NaNo, this is how I try to keep flying...

I find it best to jot down notes and move on. Simple as that. Inspiration may strike later, or it may not. Perhaps the scene is one best left in brief, or cut altogether. Either way, put your hands back to the throttle and kick in the afterburner. If staring at the screen for another ten minutes didn't help earlier, it's not going to help you now.

Funny how you can "know" this, and yet pummel your head into the wall as you refuse to take your own advice. Writing my short stories earlier this year, I ran into this same problem. A bloody 800-foot tall wall reared up ahead of me that wouldn't move. I kept running into the stupid thing, refusing to just step around and move on to the next scene. Because, unlike The Wall in Martin's epic, this one doesn't stretch for 300 miles. When I finally did, the work started flowing again.

Sometimes you have to cherry-pick your scenes. In fact, it happens a lot. Everyone is different, but I think we all come to writing with strange preconceptions. Like it has to come from your head in linear fashion: from title, to characters to starting the story, and going chapter-by-chapter to the very end.

Doesn't work that way.

So how do you handle writer's block?

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