Thursday, August 25, 2016

Writer's Block

I thought I would share some of what one of my writers was going through during the last several days, although I think the picture above says a ton.

We have all probably heard the expression, writing with blinders on, or something similar. If you are not familiar with this expression, it is referring back to the the device equestrian people put on horses known as blinders or blinkers. The idea is that the horse cannot see things on either side of their face. It is used to keep the horse from being distracted. Now while this sounds great for the horses, this is not an expression that works well with people. 

When people are operating with blinders on, they tend to only see things one way. Obviously, if you want to be focused, it might work great, but when those blinders are preventing you from seeing a better path, then you are going to run into serious issues,

That is where my writer has been.

She is in the early stages of prepping a proposal for a new line. The initial premise of the story sounds really good, however, after she gets past the beginning of the story, things fall horribly apart. The plot line starts taking off in multiple directions. Every time she adds a plot twist to it to fix the problem, it creates multiple issues. For you mythology people - think hydra here. 

It was not pretty.

And get this, we have only been working with the synopsis and the first three chapters.

So, after the first read through and I saw a lot of the issues, we attempted to tighten the story up. In other words, we tried to cut off that mess before it occurred. I made some recommendations for the changes, gave her some focused, re-aimed her in the right direction and she was off and writing. 

I had a feeling things might not be going the right way when I got on Facebook yesterday and saw images such as:

But with this author, she has always worked through it, so I went back to my own work and figured it would just take care of itself.

And then I get the new version of the synopsis. I get reading it immediately and the first half was great, BUT THEN..... here comes the Hydra again. This time that monster was uglier and really taking over. What happened!!

Sure enough, the author was writing with blinders on. We had fixed the issues in the middle that would have taken care of the problems, but because she saw the ending involving certain plot elements, everything she did would lead to that mess. She couldn't see the solution on her own.

For this author, she would often go to other critique partners and work out the issues, but this time, she was doing it on her own. There is nothing wrong with that, but the outside help had to be there to potentially talk her through it.

After I sorted out the mess, that sort of looked like.

I gave her a call and we talked it through. Sure enough that ending was the issue. We eliminated it (something that was fairly easy) and everything worked out fine. 

The point of this tale is simple. Writing is not a solitary activity. You cannot expect to write a great novel and do it entirely on your own. You need critique partners. You need outside help. You need those editors and agents to see things you didn't see the first time. Trust these people and save yourself some time. 

1 comment:

  1. Haha, yes the Christmas Lights thing is EXACTLY how I felt. I may have cursed a few times too, but I could not let go of that stupid backstory. A fresh set of eyes and someone to brainstorm with goes a LONG way. :)