Blocked for a Reason


I decided that I needed to take a break from my non stop writing schedule and blog before Teaser Tuesday rolls around tomorrow. I feel awful neglecting The Raven Desk, but it's the only way I'll be able to finish up The Pawn which will (inshallah) be done by the end of this week. Yay for me! So, yes, this is the reason for my lack of article writing lately.

So, in my flurry of writing the last few days I've noticed something. I get stumped/blocked/frazzled a lot. It was really, really frustrating because I have a personal deadline that I was forced to push back several times because I just couldn't get some of these scenes written in a way that felt true to my characters. And then I realized something - maybe it wasn't my characters being stubborn and mean. Maybe it was the scene.

Anyway, in the end I came to a conclusion that has helped me immensely in the past few days. The conclusion? When you are blocked, it's for a reason. Your characters are trying to tell you, 'I would never react like this.' It's their way of reasoning with you and making you take a step back to re-evaluate the situation.

You don't necessarily have to throw away the entire scene. Just think, 'How would my MC react if she were put in this situation.' If you listen hard enough, your characters will start talking to you (sometimes screaming) and answer all your questions - that is, assuming you have the right ones.

Once I realized that this was the case, my writing went much smoother. I didn't have to toss out my carefully constructed scene chart. I just had to change my characters' reactions. My MC started out one way, but I realized that the way I had written my outline wouldn't stay true to the kind of person she had evolved into. So, I kept the events necessary to propel the story forward but changed her reaction, which has taken the story in a new, but better, direction.

Moral of this story: if you're blocked, you're blocked for a reason.

Next post: a review of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones!
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