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Severe Writer's Block : Writers' Block Party • Page 3 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Severe Writer's Block

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:03 am

Yes, I need a fresh perspective. After 3 years of obsessing over the first novel (I think I've mentioned that my young sons draw me on the computer when they have to draw Mommy for class), I'm sick of it! I can't look at it any more. I'm still going to query agents, but I think I'm ready to move on and I expect the next effort to be better. I found while writing the first that I had internalized so many things from writing classes and even mere mentions or comments from teachers, that I was able to write fairly effectively. With all I've gotten out of you guys, I expect I can do better next time, and now have more of a sounding board.

My newest idea came while I was in church of all places and involves ghosts of all things. I thought it was a strange place to think of such a thing, but maybe not considering I am regularly answering questions from 2 five-year-olds about the resurrection! I do like the idea of brainstorming titles to get started though, and may try that on Book 2 first.

I'll look forward to reading excerpts from a lighter story of yours. You convey so much emotion in your usual work so well, and it will be interesting to see something lighter. Good luck with it.

Jumbie
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Jumbie » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:32 am

Glad to help.


OmenSpirits.com
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:30 pm

See, the problem is, you concentrated on the first novel too hard. When you start the first, and if it's going to be a series, you should have a thumbnail sketch of the second, and a basic idea for the 3rd. (for that basic book deal which is usually 3 books).

And writer's block doesn't exist.

But that's just me. ;)

abqwriter
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby abqwriter » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:35 pm


Aspiring
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Aspiring » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:48 pm

What if I just have characters that I can see getting into these types of situations again, though I don't (didn't) have the specific situations in mind yet? Like Kay Scarpetta or Alex Cross, only not nearly that good?

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Georganna
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Georganna » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:50 pm


OmenSpirits.com
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:20 pm


Jumbie
 

RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Jumbie » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:49 pm

As I said earlier, I completed the first novel in my series. Then when I started on the second, I realized I needed some foreshadowing of situations my characters would get into two or three books down the road. I sat down and sketched out (actually I used Excel) some of the high points in my character's lives for up to ten books. At least I know where they're headed.


Curious
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Curious » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:05 pm

A bit of a note about series and three-book deals:

By the time I had the first book of my trilogy out to a publishing house, I already had half of a sequel written. This didn't interest my publisher nearly as much as I thought it would. When an author is unknown, a publisher may be hesitant to pick up a multi-book story. There's just no way to predict reader reaction. Yes, we did eventually publish the other two volumes of that trilogy, but it wasn't as if the publishing house just fell into my arms at the thought of them.

I've found the same to be true with my new publisher. Because my editor is more interested in the story than in anything else, she wants to evaluate each story of a series on its own merits. It's true that she's already asked for a sequel, but that was after we got the all-important first revision done, and she justified asking for that sequel because the world feels open-ended to her--a beginning rather than an end. That wasn't my intention, just an accident of the plot: some stories really *do* feel larger than one book. In any case, even here, she's asked me to write another stand-alone story next (before writing the sequel) so that we can check reader reaction to the first one before getting too far with the second. Moral: don't feel compelled to turn every book into a series because you think that's what the publisher will want.

I disagree that it's always necessary to know where a series is headed from the outset. I like to throw interesting details into a book that I might want to use later on, but I think the sequels wind up being more interesting if the series isn't planned out too far in advance. It's a trick to fool the reader in a plot, and it's even more of a trick to fool the reader with second or third books in the same world. One of the best ways to preserve that freshness of vision is not to over-plot. I'd say, if the world is large enough (and robust enough), and there are questions that you and the reader want to answer--that's all you'll need to build the sequel.

Clare

P.S. I'm sorry that my emails are always "I-I-I"! I'm not trying to hold myself up as some sort of shining light. It's just that mine is the only experience I can speak from, and I figure that if I tell just what I know without making it sound like an absolute "This is how it is" statement, you'll be able to judge for yourselves whether it's relevant to you. I don't want to generalize based on one data point, but I know it sounds egotistical.

Jamesaritchie
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RE: Severe Writer's Block

Postby Jamesaritchie » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:21 am

I also believe that writer's block doesn't really exist. Not many realize it, but what we call "writer's block" can actually be traced back to one man. And it wasn't until literary journals started writing about something called "writer's block" because of this one man that writers actually claimed to have it. Before this time, writers were thought to be in charge of the writing, and there was no such thing as writer's block. After someone invented the phrase "Writer's block," the writing was said to be in charge of the writer, and suddenly it was all right to not write, as long as you claimed "writer's block" was the cause.

Even at this, it really wasn't until the advent of the internet that writer's block became a widely common claim.

Writer's block really is a "name it and claim it" condition. If you believe that writer's block exists, then it does exist because you let it exist. If you don't believe it exists, if you believe the writer is in charge of the writing, then it doesn't exist.

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