Sunday, April 14, 2013
When something isn't working in a story...
Sometimes in a story, something just doesn't work and suddenly you can't write anymore.
As a pantser, this happens to me a lot. A lot. And usually it ends in a period of agonising writer's block and angry self-recrimination. Because that's what writer's block is. You hit the block, you stall, and you're stuck.
So here are a few tips that sometimes work for me, and might work for you:
POV: Are you telling this scene from the right point of view? Are you telling the whole story from the right point of view? Pick another character, spin out a scene or two, and see if that flows better. If anything, it will get the words coming again.
Is This Scene Necessary? Do you need this scene, or are you only using it as a filler between action scenes? Is it full of telling instead of showing? Does every scene advance the plot in some way? If not, kill it.
Your Character's Motivation: Does it make sense? Does it change? Even if it does, your character has to retain some consistency. Your character isn't there to get buffeted around by all those crazy plot twists. Your character is there to drive the plot.
Don't lock yourself into your story. Be prepared to rip it to shreds and put it back together again, just to see if it looks better that way.
And here's the biggest tip of all, and one that I've only recently learned:
Write your query first. Those few sparse paragraphs are the heart of the thing, and if you write them down first, you won't lose sight of them.
Any tips or tricks you care to share?