Tuesday, February 16, 2016

5 Tips for Overcoming Writing Road Blocks

What do you do when you hit a road block in your plotting?

Sometimes it seems to happen no matter how well you have plotted your book. You reach a place where you just can’t seem to get passed the last scene. The next scene is a blank on the page and in your head. You’ve reached a turn in the road that you can’t seem to get around. Suddenly all your great plot ideas are stalled. You can’t seem to figure out how write the next scene. The story itself simply isn’t working and your characters refuse to move forward, and you don’t know why. Even worse you don’t know how to get them to move on. It's not writer's block. You want to write the scene. You just can't seem to do it.

Here are some quick ideas for getting past that road block and getting back on track.

1.      Turn in a new direction.

      Go off your plotting map and try something new. You don’t even need to write this into your story. Grab a new page in your writing program or go to a new page in your notebook, or go to a new notebook completely.  Pull up a new page and start a new chapter, a new scene, something different and try taking your story in a new direction

2.       Use the last scene as a plot twist.

Perhaps the problem is that you thought you were going one way, but now that isn’t working and that is why you find you are suddenly stuck. Well, maybe that plot direction won’t work. Trying using it as the end of that plot direction and toss in a twist so that you can go in a new direction. This might be where you find that you’ve fallen in love with your villain and you need someone else to be the bad guy. Well, make that decision and move on with your story to bring the blame for the dastardly deed to someone else. Using that plot twist can get you headed back in the right direction.

3.      Use the block as a red herring.

If you are writing a mystery, use this dead end to send your readers in one direction while you and your villain are actually plotting in a different direction. Let this event seem important, but you can just drop it here, and then explain later why it didn’t work or how it helped to solve the mystery.

4.      Jump forward.

Perhaps this scene has taken too much of your creative drive and you just feel blah about it. Stop writing it and go forward to work on your next scene. Don’t let this one keep you down. Instead of trying to figure out how to make this one work to get to the next scene, go on to that scene. You can always come back to this one and fix it later or you can take it out of the book. Maybe you will find you don’t actually need it.

5.      Bust on through.

Sometimes there is nothing else you can do except to push through that bad period. Move on to the next sentence, or just write something. Again, you can always come back and fix this scene. Sometimes you just need to sit in the chair and make yourself write it. That is what editing is for.  Bursting through that wall and barreling straight on down the road is sometimes the only answer. Just getting past the obstruction can make you feel like you’ve not only accomplished something, but it can help to push you forward.  

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