Sunday, November 07, 2004

Doing the Unstuck

I'm "borrowing" the title of a Cure song I don't like to talk about creative blocks. I'm wondering how others get past those points you just can't seem to push through, be it in a story, song, painting, whatever. Here are a few I use:

1. If the story has a lot of action, I write a scene forcing the two most oppoosite characters to talk to each other, even for a little bit. Sometimes the conflict can be summarized in one line of dialogue in what might take a page or more of action.

2. Write in a different space. Meaning, pick up the notebook, get out of the office and write somewhere you don't normally write. A coffee shop, a park bench, the back seat of car, anything to change your environment and get the juices flowing again.

3. Write a scene I've already written, but from the p.o.v. of a different character. Often I'll end up blending ideas from both versions into a new one.

I'll post others later on in the reply section.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

It's great that you posted this, since it's been on my mind. Those two short stories I have -- one finished, one unfinished, both needing work -- have been plaguing me despite the fact that I'm trying to do NaNoWriMo too.

Unfortunately, a lot of time if a story doesn't sing and then I stop writing, I quit. (I think that's an Aries trait, actually.) I've been lucky over the course of the last year or so to be able to get a beginning, middle and end.

Luckily, this weekend I did finish the unfinished one. Basically, to get past my block, I took a hard look at it, knocked out the cheesy part that had stumped me, and then finished it from there. (I guess I already knew what the sort of punchline was going to be.) Don't know if it's particularly good, but at least it exists now.

These are great tips though. I'm going to have to try them. Maybe with the other one that is still troubling me.

Hebdomeros said...

A fun one I haven't done in quite some time is to pull a Burroughs, or do a cut-up.

Print out your story, and segment each page into 9 equal pieces (9 is arbitrary, you can make it more or less if you like). Put all the pieces into a hat or bowl, and draw them out one by one. The first nine you draw make up your first page, and so on until you have a new cut-up story. Most of it will be unintelligible, but often I find odd word combos that help me twist descriptions a little. And sometimes, when I'm lucky and pay attention, the new sentences will point me to meanings within my story that were hiding from me.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Wow, that's really cool! I'll have to try that out sometime!