The lack of a tangible sense of progress from thinking phases is totally a mental challenge of the writing process. I feel like learning how to do this, practically and mentally, has been part of my writing growth the last few years — not that I’ve totally gotten it figured out, but I find I need both active forms of making myself think about problems (free writing, excel sheet planning, brainstorming / mind-mapping, worksheeting) as well as just letting my brain have some stewing time. Reading books about writing is another adjacent thinking activity, because I can’t help but think about my book’s issues as I read craft advice. For a long time I thought I just needed to give myself the time, but months would pass without progress, so I’ve learned that I also need the active thinking processes to keep the problem top of mind and give me something new to chew on.
Tag: problem solving
Getting Unstuck in Your Story
just about every time I get stuck while writing a novel, there’s a pattern.
1. Let the Character Act
2. Take some Information Away
3. Let the Character be Irrational
there’s something really relatable about a character who is trying to do the right thing, but doesn’t have enough information to get it right. or the character who gets frustrated and acts on that frustration.
So my fix is to go back and examine the situation through my character’s…negative, fearful, people-pleasing, overly curious, impulsive, petty qualities.
I ask: How can my character screw this up without meaning to?