A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Monday, October 6, 2014

One aspect of writer's block

I started a new story some time ago, but it stalled out when I was only 8k into it. No matter what I did, I couldn't bring myself to continue working on it. So it went into my story ideas folder, along with the notes I'd sketched out, to sit until I felt like working on it again.

I dusted it off over the weekend. I could see where I went wrong, but I wasn't sure how to fix it. I went back to the characters notes and realized I hadn't fleshed them out enough. I went through and did that. Once I was finished, the way to move the story forward finally came to me. It took erasing a good chunk of that, a little over 5k to be precise, to get it back to where I could make the story flow again. But it was worth it because I started getting somewhere instead of sitting and staring at the cursor blinking.

What happened to me initially with the story is, to me at least, a form of writer's block. I have a story I want to tell, but sometimes telling it gets in the way of the story itself. I wanted to keep it set to a series of events that I was planning for. I built it up too fast and then found it too difficult to keep going. How was I going to top some of the tension I'd already created moving forward? I wasn't sure I could, so it stalled out as I tried to figure out where to go.

Now I'm using minor bursts of tension to raise the stakes but not so much that I can't get around it when it comes time for the climax. Getting to that point too early in the book makes it more difficult to handle the coming scenes. Every character has a story, and some of them are subplots for the main one. I'm letting a little bit of those stories, not every detail but a hint of them, come out here in the beginning. This is giving me a lot more to work with than I initially had.

This is part of where being a pantser can be difficult at times. Which is why I may write the story by the seat of my pants, but I at least try to have a few conversations with my characters before I start just to get a sense of them and their stories.

What do you do? Do you write out notes for every little detail? Do you just wing it completely? Or are you somewhere in between?


  1. I tend to wing it completely. Although, as I go future scenes come to me and I'll make notes. Despite little planning, I've been pretty lucky not to trip up too badly. I can usually get the story written without having writers block interrupt me. Maybe I'll have little bouts of writers block, but I can get over them quickly.

    1. I've gotten to the point where some things I'll wing completely. Others not so much. I at least have to know who the characters are, even if it's just mental notes.