Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Curing Writer's Block

(or working on more than one book at a time)

There comes a thing in every writer’s life when the words slow or - Heaven help us! - they stop completely. It’s happened to me, but I think I’ve found the cure.

When it happens with my work in progress I start work on another book.

Another book, you say. How on earth do you do that?

Easy. I have a bunch of three hole binders and I’ve developed several forms which allow me to quickly review a different book when the words stop flowing on the novel I’m currently undertaking. One of those forms is an interview with the hero, heroine, and a shorter version for secondary characters, including the villain or villainess which I filled out when I first started the book. I have a list of characters’ names, so they don’t all start with the same letter of the alphabet and I have a plot outline. (By the way, that often ends up changing a whole lot – but, it’s a beginning.)

However, by quickly refreshing character descriptions and the situation, I can go to work on a completely different book.

It works for me. I find I can go from one story to another after a quick review, then, when words slow or stop with that novel, I can go back to the original book and continue where I left my characters.

There is one amazing thing that frequently happens when I jump around. As I work on another novel, I’ll discover a plot problem with the original idea the stopped or slowed the words. Or sometimes, in researching one book, a solution to a problem I didn’t recognize with the original work surfaces and I can return to my first work in progress with a fresh approach.

Now, I suppose this might not work for someone who doesn’t plot, or work from an outline, no matter how limited. But I do plot and I do outline, so it works for me.

However, if all else fails, and I can't write, I leave the computer and go read a book.

Well, not everything is one hundred percent perfect!

Allison Knight