Friday, July 28, 2017

Breaking the Writer's Block

Hello darkness, my old friend!
Chapter 13 of Company of the Damned, “How Strait the Gate,” took an unusually long time.  Some chapters take longer than others, figuring out plot and character actions/reaction can be a plodding process.  But not this close to the end of a book.  At this point, scenes and dialogue and character actions are fairly set.  The final scenes of this story were written before chapter 1, “The Night That Cover,” had its four or five false starts.  Some of those ended up in later chapters, where the action written was far more appropriate.

Sometimes a line, a phrase, a scene is so clear, the opening writes itself.  With Chapter 13 (the most dangerous chapter known to mortals) the self-doubt started to worm in like an earwig from Ceti Alpha V.  It had practically wrapped itself around my cerebral cortex before I remembered I’ve written books before—published them even!  But that’s the power of the Ceti Alpha V self-doubt earwig.  It’s a horrible, horrible sensation.  It makes you say lies, do things, and write bad checks.

Then, a solution (amid ten-thousand) presented.  The end of “writer’s block” doesn’t come easy.  It’s a whole process that, to all appearances, ends with a Eureka! moment.  Struggling with the chapter—even though I know exactly where it needs to go—for three or more weeks means wrestling with all the elements that came before, during and after.  But you have to struggle.  This is what you've trained your brain to do, and your brain knew the risks when it signed up!  There are as many bits of advice for overcoming writers block as there are starts in the sky.  Sometimes more.  The only takeaway is that if you’re a writer and you're talented.  You wouldn't be writing if you weren't a writer.  So write.  Let your brain do the work it was meant to do and know this: It will happen.

Great Lloyd!
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

Your brain is working on the problem right now, stewing it over, pulling together the necessary threads.  Shortly, the whole thing will weave together and you'll be amazed.  You'll feel like a guy wearing bronze armor standing on the highest hill top, during a lightening storm, screaming, "ALL GODS ARE BASTARDS!" (Thank you Terry Pratchett.)  The feeling, the struck by 1.21 gigawatts of electricity . . . well . . . that’s part of why we write.  The sheer joy of the power of creation is heady, heady stuff.

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