Blocked for a Reason

August 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM | Posted in Writing, Writing Advice | 1 Comment
Credit to Sassafrass002 at DeviantArt

Credit to Sassafrass002 at DeviantArt

In the flurry of writing that occurred closer to the finish line of my novel I noticed something. I get stumped/blocked/frazzled a lot. It was really, really frustrating because I had a personal deadline that I was forced to push back several times because I just couldn’t get some of these scenes written in a way that felt true to my characters. And then I realized something – maybe it wasn’t my characters being stubborn and mean. Maybe it was the scene.

Anyway, in the end I came to a conclusion that helped me immensely in the last few days. The conclusion? When you are blocked, it’s for a reason. Your characters are trying to tell you, ‘I would never react like this.’ It’s their way of reasoning with you and making you take a step back to re-evaluate the situation.

You don’t necessarily have to throw away the entire scene. Just think, ‘How would my MC react if she were put in this situation.’ If you listen hard enough, your characters will start talking to you (sometimes screaming) and answer all your questions – that is, assuming you have the right ones.

Once I realized that this was the case, my writing went much smoother. I didn’t have to toss out my carefully constructed scene chart. I just had to change my characters’ reactions. My MC started out one way, but I realized that the way I had written my outline wouldn’t stay true to the kind of person she had evolved into. So, I kept the events necessary to propel the story forward but changed her reaction, which has taken the story in a new, but better, direction.

Moral of this story: if you’re blocked, you’re blocked for a reason.

~Sumayyah

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1 Comment »

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  1. I completely agree. I think the reason I got blocked sometimes during my current WIP is that I wasn’t flexible enough to listen to my MC when she was telling it like it was. Once I accepted her better understanding of the situation, things flowed much easier. True, I sometimes cursed her for complicating my life, but it made things better, I think.


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