Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Success! Take THAT Writer's Block!

At the risk of sounding over triumphant and pleased with myself, the section of story which I have discussed often on here, and which posed such a difficult problem has finally been defeated. 

I spent weeks - months even fighting against what in essence was a small problem made much larger due to my inability to get past it. That 4 hour period of dead time in my story, which did create a fantastic new character proved near impossible to write. I struggled very hard with it, including at one stage (as you can read on an earlier entry) - deciding to move past it. I did manage to write beyond it, but I couldn't move on from it, it was just a sense of false hope followed by another dose of writing related misery. 

Genuinely, I didn't know how to deal with it. At times I felt my entire novel would fall apart based on one scene that I couldn't get right. That maybe this was a sign, and other such self-defeating talk. It seemed like a brick wall then I had a revelation. I read elsewhere that if nothing works, perhaps the idea is flawed, now I felt my idea was quirky but not flawed, but that began to breed enough self doubt that I decided to strip it 'back to basics' and follow a problem solving method similar to the ones used in my Communication degree, which coincidently - was easier to do than this damn novel. 

The problem solving technique was that of identifying the key areas of the plot, marking out what I needed and basically spelling out exactly what this section needed and I ended up writing myself a writing brief. Much the same drill as you would use for advertising, marketing or public relations, this brief took it bit by bit and really in my head made clear what I needed, then barely finished my scrawled brief in my writing notebook and I had the answer. 

Now, I think it doesn't need to be that complex. Although it is very useful to break it down and identify what it needs to fit with the rest of the novel, and I cannot thank my lecturers enough for not just teaching me how to create a brief, but also how to use one effectively. I think the simple thing that I learned was the need to look at what I'm doing from a different angle. Writing the brief allowed me to objectively cast my eye over the scene, look at the limits imposed by the plot and look at what I wanted to do. The structure helped so much, and as I can see another couple of hiccups in my future, I'll be using this again to see if it is more than just a lucky one-off. 

As for the novel writing, it seems that just as you make a breakthrough, other things fail. So I've spent today sick and asleep, and have managed to do not much. I escaped bed once or twice, only to have stomach upset, followed by feeling rotten and back to bed. Such is life. I won't use here to rant about the NHS, it's not that type of blog. 

However, I am very pleased with the new section I have written. To me - it's amazing, and I mean that without arrogance. The idea fits, it's fast paced, it's exciting - it's everything the brief required, and maybe that's what I needed, a set of guidelines for content that didn't suffocate creativity, because what I have now in that section is beyond anything I ever conceived previously and it was only seeing what I needed to fill that gave me the boost to see just how far I could go. Apologies also for not saying what the newly written section entails, it's so exciting for me that I want to keep it a secret for my test readers who haven't seen it yet :-) ~ Kitty

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