Monday, October 17, 2011

Writer's Block Innoculation

So this post is really a true example of me, knowing at some point I will have Writer's Block and heading it off before it can sink its evil story stalling claws into me.  It's sorta like a flue shot.

With every story I write, I always try to have a character, who I personally love (but really that's all of them).  So I try to have a character who if put in a scene will ultimately a) up the stakes and b) create some sort of story.  Now, you may be thinking, Gretchen that's supposed to be your MAIN CHARACTER.  And yes I agree with you.  Your main character should constantly up the stakes and you know move the story along.

But when you hit Writer's Block it's probably, at least for me, fatigue between me and my main character.  We're just too darn tired.  She's exhausted from telling me all the dark things in her life and I'm tired of speed typing my fingers off. We're in a creative slump, and the only thing that can even remotely save us is: this on little side character, who I call my Saving Grace.

In my latest story, my saving grace is a character named Brody.  (Any of you who have read Foxtrot, you all LOVE Brody--you can admit this.  If I killed him you'd kill me. Not that I would....there are worse things than death....)  But the point is, whenever I pull up this character, I can't help but smile and Foxtrot can't help but smile.  It's impossible to suffer from fatigue when I plop my saving grace on the page.

I've had other successful and not so successful saving graces in the past.  Sometimes, when they don't work too well, they just repeat the same thing over and over.  OR the same thing just keeps coming up in conversations.  But with Brody, he happens to be a six going on seven year old who thinks his world is a) wicked awesome (his sister shudders at this thought) and b) that his older sister can do anything.  Really ANYTHING. (yes I know this isn't quite typical of siblings, but hey this is the future, things change.) c) he's sort of adorable....ok he's COMPLETELY adorable. So I smile every time he does something.

Even if the scene eventually gets cut, Brody can give me a new way to pull in characters, recenter myself in the story, and basically smile in the middle of a really dark world.

Do you have any ways of solving Writers Block?  Or just have characters who just make your day?


  1. When I have Writer's Block, I usually just write right through it. But when I'm REALLY out of it and I can't get ANYTHING out of my head, I just go check blogs. I think it really helps!

    But I have fallen in love with a few of my characters. I like the main character (of course, I HAVE to like her because she's the MAIN character), but I've also got a friend of hers who's kind of an annoying trouble maker, but I think he's like-able. I bring him into scenes that I can't write very well. He usually adds some action to it!

  2. I always try and have a male character that I swoon over. That will keep my engine running through the many drafts. I also find a good walk with my iPod will snap me out of the writing doldrums. - It was awesome to meet you at Dana's!