Writer’s block?

So it took me a long time to finish writing the first draft of my novel. Like, years. Why did it take me so long? Well, some of it was life. Things happened and pulled me in a direction where I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write. And we all need to be in the right frame of mind to write. Otherwise, it’s probably going to be crap.

But there were other times where I had legit writer’s block. Where I was stuck and couldn’t write a word for months. I’m glad I had these moments as I learned how to manage my blocks and how to get past them.

I’ll be honest, I have bad habits. I don’t outline. I don’t brain storm very much. What I do is let the characters live in my head for a few years, and when I feel like I have a good idea of who they are, what their purpose is, who their adversaries are, what the climax of my story will be, and how my story will end–that is when I start writing. I don’t have diagrams or flo-charts or any of that stuff. Maybe some notes I’ve written here and there, but they’re flimsy, because I’m probably the laziest writer you’ll ever meet.

But I do have three parts to my story. A: the beginning, B: the climax, and C: the resolution. And the block comes in when I’ve written myself into a corner, and I can’t see how I’m going to get to from point A to B, or B to C. This is when I have legit writer’s block. The first few times it happened, I let weeks go by as I tried to figure out how I was going to proceed. After awhile, I realized that the best thing to do was to cut. Cut those last few paragraphs or pages and write something else, take my story in a different direction–because it doesn’t matter how I get to point B, as long as I get there.

And that’s something I recommend writers doing if they ever find themselves with writer’s block. Try putting the car in reverse and taking a different road to your destination. And enjoy the ride. I know I do.

 

How much is too much?

As a writer, a question that I’m always asking myself is: How much information is too much?

Especially with a genre like fantasy, I think writers like to give the reader a lot of info. It makes sense, because a lot of the time we’re world building, and it takes a lot of text to introduce a new world to the reader. Personally, I want a reader to be able to imagine my world as I see it. What I’ve realized is that a lot of the time that is not the case. It’s not a bad thing. If anything, I’m pleasantly surprised when someone reads my fiction and has imagined my settings in a larger scale than I intended. Because really, sometimes bigger is better.

But there are other situations, like the motives of a character or even the plot of a story, where I’ve had readers that understand what is happening and one that doesn’t. In this situation, I’m always a little confused as to what to do. Obviously my writing isn’t so confusing that the plot can’t be followed because some readers were able to do so without question. But what about the reader that didn’t? Why are they struggling? The only thing I can think of is that some people prefer to read stories that have an abundant amount of information and want the instant gratification of their questions answered in one sitting.

Personally speaking, I’m not a reader that needs to have everything given to them at one time. I like to be spoon fed small amounts throughout a story. The best thing is finding subtle little clues that end up being major factors in the future. It keeps me hooked wanting to know if the story is going to work out the way I think it will. And when it does, the feeling is so satisfying.

At the moment, the story that has most of us in its clutches is A Song of Ice and Fire. Does it make me crazy that the show has surpassed the novels? Yes it does. Do I wish that I didn’t know that Daenerys is going to lead the Dothraki back to Meereen? Well, I’m kinda leaning that way since Game of Thrones has already portrayed it. But one plot point that wasn’t portrayed in the show is Victarion Greyjoy and his magic dragon horn. Is anyone else predicting him presenting the horn to Daenerys whereas she uses it to control her dragons to train for battle? After ordering Drogon to eat Victarion of course, squashing his intentions to marry. Permanently.

Yes, yes, it can happen. I’m looking forward to see if it does. I’ll even wait another five years for Martin to publish The Winds of Winter just to see if I’m right.

And that’s what I want for my writing. For people to read and get hooked. I want to keep them interested for years to come.

So, sorry to the one beta reader that didn’t like my story, I’m not changing the plot. Not drastically at least. You’ll just have to wait along with everyone else to get your questions answered. Or not. It’s completely up to you.