Getting stuck

I experienced something the other day that dogs every writer, beginner or experienced – I got stuck!  My chapter was dragging along, with not much happening and going nowhere special in a hurry.  I’d tried my usual trick – press enter and insert <work in transition> – in an attempt to get to an exciting bit, but when my next sentence was ‘Did you hear about the tribe?’ I knew it wasn’t going to work.  Boredom was here to stay.

About a year ago, my writing buddy Janette gave me some advice.  She said whenever you’re stuck, ask yourself a question right before you go to sleep and you’ll wake up with the answer.  I tried it and it worked!  As I was dropping off to sleep, I started thinking about the problem of how to start the next part of the conversation, and I came up with one line. 

Everything clicked, and I knew I’d found what I needed.  The rest of the chapter was shaped and ended exactly where it needed to.  And to top things off, I can reshape the rest of the chapter in light of that one line to match the tone.  So thanks, Janette, it only took a year but your advice eventually sank in!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Graham Storrs
    May 03, 2009 @ 21:17:27

    And the new line was…?


  2. j-a
    May 04, 2009 @ 20:30:19

    ‘Be careful.’
    Simple, but a lot more effective than ‘Did you hear about the tribes?’


  3. Emma Newman
    May 06, 2009 @ 03:08:06

    I’ve never tried this technique – I will add it to the arsenal!

    Something I do when I get stuck in a scene is change the camera angle – I see my scenes like those from filsm, and sometimes my internal director just picks the wrong shot. Pulling back, positioning it elsewhere or sitting it on someone else’s shoulder are sometimes what I need to get past the hump.

    Does that make me sound mad? (shrug) It works anyway.


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