I think everyone has been there. The story is just flowing, you know exactly what's going to happen, how it's going to happen and everything is just clicking.
And then, suddenly, without warning, it stops flowing. You have no idea how you got where you are in the plot line, you feel like your character is someone totally different than they started out and you are completely lost on how to keep writing this story.
Welcome to the Corner. :)
One time, I actually did keep plodding along. I had 100 pages, no plot, characters I hated and a storyline that was about as logical as "Bohemian Rhapsody". The whole story went right into the virtual trashcan on my desktop.
I'm currently working on the sequel to Cool Beans. When I first started writing it, I let my mom and sister read it. I had about five chapters or so and while it wasn't going the way I thought it would, but I didn't think it was too bad.
"Maya wouldn't do that," my sister told me after reading it.
"It makes her sound mean," my mom said. "You need to rewrite it."
And so, I rewrote everything. Now I'm almost halfway there and I haven't gotten backed into a corner yet. Thanks Cayce! Thanks Mom!
I think Betsy and BJ hit this one on the head. When you feel like you're completely stuck and writer's block is landing on your head like a boulder from the Rocky Mountains, step back from your work for a few days. Re-read everything and try to decide when the story took that turn heading straight for the corner. Then cut everything you think needs to be deleted, save it in a different document (just in case!), and start over again.
So what happens if you continuously get stuck? There comes a point when you just have to write. The first book I finished was not Miss Match. It was a mystery actually, that will probably never see the light of day again. :) It was not very good! But finishing that book was amazing, because that's when I proved to myself that I could finish a book! Even if you think you're working on the modern day equivalent of War and Peace, finish it. You can learn more about writing by finishing a book than you can reading every book on writing out there.
Next time you get stuck, here's a few things to do:
* Walk away. Let the story sit for a few days. Work on a different story, or even better, read a book that is the same genre you are writing.
* Come back to the story and start reading from the beginning. Note the character's personalities, attitudes and desires. What do they want? Are they consistent throughout the story?
* Start at the place where you first started feeling iffy about where the story was going and brainstorm. What is something else that could happen? Don't try to rewrite the same plot, change the plot.
* Don't over-analyze your work. That's when the creative side of you takes a nosedive. Just keep writing. Analyze after you've written the words "The End".
* Write, write, write.
Sometimes the best thing I can do when I'm feeling overwhelmed by a story or stuck in a corner is to put it away and not touch it for a few days. By the time I come back to it, my brain isn't clogged over, my ideas are fresher and I'm not so focused on the tiny details. It works wonders!
And that corner? You might just be thankful for it when you round that curve with a better, tighter story.
Tomorrow, we'll be hearing from Jenness Walker. She's about to release her first published novel, so I know she's learned a ton about writing lately! :) Don't forget to keep posting questions - you've posted some great ones already! I'm really excited for this Q & A!
I hope you are having a great Monday! This is Jon's last week of the school year (everyone together: YAY!), so we are definitely excited here! For everyone going through finals, I'll be praying for you. Keep your chin up! Summer vacation will be here before you know it!