Perseverance and Writer Block Antidotes

Something can be said for perseverance. When fellow authors/writers talk with me about how difficult it is to finish a book I sometimes stare back blankly. Perhaps it is because I am so business minded; having a degree in Logistics has really helped me put the pieces together faster. There are so many tools available to a writer to keep them on track. Outlines for example provide either a lose basis of a story plot with specifics called out or a chapter by chapter breakdown. I remember reading somewhere that most successful authors find a method to their madness and rarely change. It made me think of Stranger than Fiction.

If you haven’t seen the movie, consider it and skip down to the next paragraph. For those that have keep reading. The author goes from place to place imagining how Herald Crick will die. When confronted with a problem in her writing she deploys this method. Some retreat to the comfort of a secluded area. Whatever your antidote might be, go and figure it out. I go and watch old period dramas. Something about the flowing verses of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte gets me thinking; usually in the right direction.

It is important, I have discovered, to determine what your anti-writer’s block pill is. Having an outline to reference is also good. More than that I find having an idea of the ending when you start helps get you there. It is a matter of purpose. You have a reason to write the beginning all of that important stuff in the middle, because you already know the ending. I spoke with a friend of mine who writes the last chapter and then starts over and works towards it. It works for them, why not try that?

Here are a few techniques that I have heard about from various authors who successfully finish books:
· Outlines

· Starting with the end in mind

· Writing the last chapter first and the first chapter second (knowing there may be modifications)

· Setting: drawing the map if you are making up a new world or doing research on existing places to make sure your setting is accurate.

· Characters: do character write ups if you struggle with character development.

· Determine what you want your book to display. What is the underlying theme?

Some of these I actually do myself. The only difference is I don’t always do them in the same order. Sometimes I have to have a map before I do anything! Not even a single word on paper besides a generalized genre and ‘sand-lots of sand.’ Other times I write down character names and roles. Rarely do I start anything without knowing the ending; I find looking forward helps me work out how I want to get there.

I’ve never written the last chapter though. I find that my outline and overall plot can sometimes take a side road and get a little off course. Usually because of a good idea or a plot twist. I think of a new place the characters need to go or eliminate unnecessary ideas. I may even decide to bring in another character because something is missing. On one of my books I was 17 chapters in and I went back to add 3 more to bring a new character in. I decided including them at the beginning was more important there than later. It also gave a better picture of everything that was happening.

Good luck with all your future endeavors and as always, happy reading.

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