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Writers Block : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Writers Block

Here's the place to share a writing or marketing tip you've used successfully and want to pass along.
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JesseRBassett
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Writers Block

Postby JesseRBassett » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:39 pm

Hello all,
Just wondering if anyone has encountered writers' block and how they have gotten 'rid of it' so to speak. I am presently in this and it stinks to high heaven! Please help!

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ostarella
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Re: Writers Block

Postby ostarella » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:40 pm

I've never had writer's block - I just don't believe in it, tbh. People who can post to their blogs, or forums, or email friends don't have writer's block. They're just stuck at some point in their story. And when I get stuck like that, I set aside the story and write something else - describe/inflate what's going on outside my window. That guy walking down the street isn't just walking - he's casing a home, or he's an undercover cop, a spy, an obsessive lover. I might write a few sentences, maybe a few paragraphs - whatever. It lets my brain relax a little, quit the "OMG I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS STORY ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!". A few shorts like that and I can go back to the story and get back to creative "what if-ing" without the stress.
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wdarcy
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Re: Writers Block

Postby wdarcy » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:11 pm

I agree with Shadowwalker. I have never had writer's block either, because it simply doesn't exist.

But I have hardly ever gotten stuck on a story. As I wrote elsewhere, I don't outline, plot, or plan; I just start writing, and I stop writing when the story is finished. I've read some nonsense on this forum about "pantser's blockage," which is as fictitious as writer's block. As I write, e.g., Chapter 5, it becomes clear to me what will happen in Chapter 6. I may have no idea what happens in Chapter 7 or 10 or 57, but I do know what Chapter 6 has to be about. And as I write Chapter 6, it becomes clear what must happen in Chapter 7. That's because the story is already there, and I am uncovering it bit by bit. But also, I am constantly writing from cause to effect. Chapter 5 causes what happens in Chapter 6, which in turn causes what happens in Chapter 7. Chapter 5 may be an "action scene," which causes the reflection and regrouping in Chapter 6, and that motivates the action in Chapter 7. And so forth.

So no, writer's block does not exist. And if you know how to tell a story, always moving from cause to effect, you will rarely get stuck either. At least that's my experience.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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ostarella
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Re: Writers Block

Postby ostarella » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:18 pm

Sometimes I'm at the decision-tree point - there are two (or more) possible ways the story could go, and to some degree follow logically what has already happened. One way I really like - but another would be more logical. Yet another would work but would involve taking a bit of a detour (ie, makes me work a little harder ;) ). And until I can settle down versus stressing out, I'm stuck, so that's when I take the break as described above. Maybe "stuck" isn't the best word, but I think we need to accept that words/ideas won't always flow - sometimes we have to do some dredging. :)
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wdarcy
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Re: Writers Block

Postby wdarcy » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:28 pm

Oh, I see what you mean. When you used the word "stuck," I assumed you meant reaching a point where you had no idea how to proceed--the situation some uninformed folk think will necessarily happen to any writer who does not plot or outline the complete story in advance. That's nonsense, of course. But you're talking about just the opposite--you reach a point where you have several ideas of how to proceed. :) So you're weighing options, perhaps testing each possibility before going on. Sure, that's all part of storytelling. I completely relate to that.

I wonder if you would agree, Shadowwalker (sorry, but I've known you so long under that name I can't call you Ostarella :D ) that the majority of posts on this forum deal with the mechanics of writing (especially by individuals who somehow feel they have an inside track on the one and only correct way to write fiction), whereas relatively few posts deal with the art of storytelling. Both are important, of course, but right now they seem to be out of balance.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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ostarella
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Re: Writers Block

Postby ostarella » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:39 pm

Formerly shadowwalker
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wdarcy
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Re: Writers Block

Postby wdarcy » Mon May 01, 2017 11:51 am

"Just tell me a story!" Yes, that's very good. Because telling a good story has very little, if anything, to do with the mechanics of writing. But the latter seems to be the only thing so many posters fixate upon.

Here's an idea, Shadowwalker: You and I could co-moderate a new forum devoted to storytelling. Not sure how much work that would be, or if Paul would go for it. But it could be a place where folks can discuss, offer opinions, and seek advice upon the art of storytelling--instead of all this fixation upon structure, plotting or not plotting, word count goals, chapter lengths, what kind of music to listen to while writing, etc.,--none of which has anything to do with storytelling.

For example, one thread could be about promises--how an author makes promises to the reader, what kind of promises, how to deliver on those promises, etc. Another thread could be about causality--how to make sure the story moves always from cause to effect, not the other way. Still another could be about the scene/interlude alternation, as certain types of scenes call for certain types of interludes. And so forth.

Well, perhaps it's something to think about. I do feel it's the sort of discussion that could be enormously beneficial to fiction writers.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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ostarella
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Re: Writers Block

Postby ostarella » Mon May 01, 2017 12:14 pm

I like it! :D
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Alice Clay
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Re: Writers Block

Postby Alice Clay » Sat May 06, 2017 6:45 pm

Thanks you guys. I really like the "Chapter 5 causes what happens in Chapter 6" and I am writing that in big block letters where I can see it. To me, writers block is not knowing what happens next and I really need to do the laundry and finish that library book that's due tomorrow. I guess that separates the amateurs from the professionals?

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Re: Writers Block

Postby ostarella » Sat May 06, 2017 8:03 pm

Formerly shadowwalker
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