Sunday, July 11, 2010

Help! I'm Slogging...

Here it is, Sunday afternoon. We went to church this morning, came home and had a nice lunch, and I have the entire afternoon stretched out in front of me - perfect writing time. I already wrote about a half a page so far, but it feels like I'm slogging through mud.

Why? There's always a struggle once you're in the middle of a story, of course. But I think my problem stems from me writing something completely different - a thriller mystery. And in a thriller mystery, you've got to make sure your clues don't give away too much, that your characters are constantly making new discoveries that will help them solve the mystery (and in this case, catch the bad guys before they do the bad stuff!), and that you don't reveal too much too soon.

GAH. It's enough to make me pull my hair out!

I think I'm just going to push through it. Last week I blogged about "covering the canvas" and I think I need to take my own advice. I can always go back in and change it. In fact, I'm pretty certain that's what I'm going to have to do.

What do you do when you get stuck in your writing?


  1. I find that if I sit down and get into it, I can usually get in the zone. If I'm stuck, though, and don't know where to go with the writing, it helps to come at a scene or chapter in a completely different and unexpected way that I'm sure will never work. It always opens some doorway of thought that gets everything moving again. Good luck!

  2. When I get stuck chances are good I'm missing something in the way of setting or dialogue tags. For lack of a better word I'll say "clunky". Usually, hopefully if I back up, smooth things out it "unstucks" me.

    Good luck. : )

  3. "Slogging through mud" is the perfect description. When I'm stuck like this, sometimes I can't even make a character leave a room! It's usually a clue that I haven't thought things out well enough or I'm coming at it from the wrong direction. I go back to my trusty notebook and start jotting things down--character motivation, emotions, other ideas for the scene. It may take a while, but it always gets me unstuck.

  4. I like to think I work through it, but what I usually do is go and eat chocolate, then wander off to facebook and twitter until my brain has figured it out.

  5. Debs, I think I usually work like you do. I wander around the house and eat something, mess around on Facebook or whatever, and then I get back to it and usually can figure it out. Yesterday afternoon I did that, then realized I needed to quit procrastinating. After I sat down with my laptop, the words started coming again!

    Joanne - I think looking at the scene from a different angle will definitely help.

    Rebecca - Clunky! Yes, that's the perfect term! I just want to throw my laptop across the room when I write like that!

    Christine - I go back to my notebook, too, and see if some of my previous notes will jump-start something!

  6. Sometimes I'll stop and write a first-person autobiography of the character who's giving me trouble, from birth to the minute they step into my story. It seems to refresh my knowledge of the character, and sometimes truly amazing things come out of that "stream-of-consciousness" exercise. And if that doesn't work. . . there's always chocolate. Or popcorn. Or chocolate. Or chocolate. Or chocolate.

  7. I waste entirely too much time doing other things, avoiding the issue. What usually gets me going again is talking it for real. Like it's happening in front of me or on a tv show. If I'm in a car by myself or home by myself I'll talk through it like scenes and when I get the real body language and what real people would say, it usually gets moving again.

    by the way, what you posted on mine about the imagining the ceiling is the floor thing...I did that too! Totally forgot about that one!

  8. Stephanie, you're a woman after my own heart - lots of chocolate is ALWAYS a good idea! :-) I like your idea about the autobiography. I used to do that all the time and haven't tried that concept in years. Maybe it's time to give it another go...

    Sharla - Ooh, that's a good idea! Never thought about talking it out like that. Of course, the hubby and my daughter might think I'm acting a bit stranger than usual!


I love to hear from you!

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!