Easy as A, B, C . . . from JC
So there I was… writing along… excited about my story… words flowing onto the page… and BAM!
All of a sudden a proverbial wall appeared. Where did this roadblock come from? My main characters were all doing exciting wonderful things as we got to know and love them. I had: action, suspense, tension. Even unusual creatures and fearsome beasts. So where did it all go wrong? Why was I stuck? The fact is, I had some great ideas, but I did not have a clear answer to many important questions.
Who/what is the antagonist?
Where did the antagonist come from?
Where does it live now?
Why is it here?
What does it want and why?
What are its strengths/weaknesses?
Why is the protagonist a threat?
What are the protagonist’s new powers?
How does he learn to use and control them?
What are his vulnerabilities?
What are the secondary creatures in the story?
Why are they here?
Are they harmful or dangerous?
Okay, enough questions, you get the point.
My loss of direction threw me into a tailspin. The harder I tried to figure it out, the more confused I became. I spent hours contemplating: “how about…”, “what if…” and “maybe….” I half panicked. I just couldn’t visualize the whole picture. I was both character- and plot-bound. My book was doomed!
At some point along the path to panic and doom, I began to talk to friends and writing colleagues about my dilemma. And while they certainly didn’t have the details of my story, what they did have were some great ideas, small ones that were subtle possibilities. Like tiny pieces of a large puzzle that I began to put together in my mind. I drove my wife and coworker crazy with new ideas. My antagonist was materializing. I got out my whiteboard and drew pictures of where he was being held and how he would escape. His back story is starting to appear and the strange creatures are beginning to make sense. My panic lessens. My doom fades. The excitement of new material has me once again anxious to write.
If there is one lesson I have learned through this process, one piece of advice I could offer from my “I’m really new at this” point of view, it would be to persevere. When problems arise, talk through them, draw through them, write through them.
Your muse will return as did mine. And yes… The Shadow Master is once again a work in progress.
See you day-after-tomorrow for Friday Friends