For today’s Twin Thursday, Rachel of Undivinelight and I are doing some rapid-fire writer’s block-busting. These are specific jams that you might run into and an easy way to fix them.
- Dialogue feels stale. Try really getting into how your characters speak. Not just what they say, but how they say it. People speak differently depending on their education, upbringing, gender, and countless other factors. Try tapping into that to breathe fresh life onto the page.
- Action scene has you feeling disoriented. Zero in on your character’s senses and thought progress. Especially for large, chaotic action sequences, the temptation is to go for the bigger picture. But if that makes you feel lost, focus smaller. Tighter details, more intimate sensations. It can help ground your reader and yourself.
- Wandering plot. To be entirely honest, I’m a pantser most of the time. So if the story starts to go off-script, I usually let it. At least for a trashdraft. Sometimes I find neat treasures down that way that I can work into a better scene as I’m editing. If you don’t want to do that, though, create a scrap document and name it Noodle (or something similar) and paste the off-topic writing over there. This way you get to still have your fun writing the thing without actually committing it to your draft.
- Lack of confidence. Especially when it comes to your skill level. You have an awesome idea, but you’re afraid that your talent as a writer isn’t quite to the point that you can handle multiple POVs or a kingdom-wide famine. Find a book that does the thing you want to do and try to emulate what the writer did. This way, you can grow your skillset in a no-pressure setting. It’s like the practice mode on a new video game. Once you have a head for the controls, open up that new document and give it a try!
- Enthusiasm has waned. This is a toughie. Everybody hits it at some point. Heck, I’m fighting with it literally as I write this. The story’s not going as fast or as fun as you thought it would. You hit a plot snag. The shine wore off and the hard work is showing through. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix here. You just need to put your butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard and muscle through. Eventually, either the love will come back and you’ll be proud of what you made or you’ll decide that you have to walk away from it for a bit. Just be sure that, if you do take a break, you’re doing it because you mentally need the distance from the project, not just because it got a little rocky.