Friday, August 20, 2010

My Characters need your Help (Or maybe I do)

By Amber Lynae

I told you all about  the 50,000 words in 50 days challenge. I wrote with a fury. My word count grew. My esteem soared. Then after two weeks (a short 14 days), it happened. I got stuck. Not just a little Elmer's glue holding me back.  This was more like I glued, duct taped, screwed down, cemented in place, surrounded by brick and mortar, with  a fish hook pulling me away.

I knew I should just skip the scene and move on. Yet I knew the importance of the events that needed to happen.  How can you just skip over something to significant?  How can you just move on without understanding who your character got to the other side?

Days have passed.  Many days.  And I have not escaped.  I open my word document and stare.  I start a sentence, I delete a sentence.  M y characters are standing in my mind, with hands on hips, feet tapping.  They are frustrated.  I am frustrated.  I'm stuck.

Any suggestions?


  1. Try to dream it out! This may sound weird, but before you go to bed tonight, write down your question/problem on a piece of paper and put it next to your bed. Think about it as you fall asleep. In the morning, write down any dreams you may have had. You might get some inspiration!

  2. I know that feeling well!!! Everyone says to move forward and come back to it later but I agree, how can you leave such an important part out. I like Kasey's idea of sleeping on it, literally. Our dreams are where we are most creative cause our logical side and our editor are sleeping and not holding back our imagination.

  3. In my current work-in-progress I have skipped over scenes. If there is something I think might need to be changed by the skipped scene then I highlight it to review later. Sometimes working backwards from the end to the beginning works well.

  4. I most often start at the end. I figure out a starting place, but I don't write that yet. I go to the delightful ending. Now, I'm sure to change it several times along the way but SO SO often it has helped me add things in along the way. I have never, nor will I ever write a whole novel chronologically.
    Good Luck, I'm on my first project where I've had "stuck" times.
    Great pic for this by the way.

  5. I usually get through stuck time with lots of day dreaming. Good luck!

  6. Oh man. I went 5 or 6 weeks like that not too long ago and it drove me absolutely wacko! I wish I had a cure, but truth is, I just moved to another project. I think my "creative" self needed a break, so I started editing a different book I wrote. Suddenly, the juices started flow and I snuck back to my WIP and have been hammering out the wordage. I think the cure is different for each writer. I hope you find yours soon.

  7. One prestigious agent suggested the scenario of seven. Think of ten of the worst, random, problematic, strange or otherwise conflicting things that could possibly happen. (I'm talking serious conflict here--because conflict drives the story.) Narrow it down to one, or write a few--anything to get the juices pumping again.

    Another idea, try taking your characters and sticking them in an entirely different dynamic, (ex: put your introvert country girl in the center of a high end corporate meeting) see what happens, and how that spills over.

    Final idea, PUT ON SOME MUSIC! That's right. Figure out whatever mood you want to have during this next scene (tense, desperate, happy, etc) and find something you LOVE that matches the scene. Listen, and type whatever comes to mind. No editing. No stopping. Who care if it's total hogwash? Just type.

    Good luck!



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