June 30, 2008 at 10:30 pm 12 comments

I’m good at keeping secrets, so I’m sure this comes as a surprise to you that I’ve been blocked lately.*snort loudly* Not “I need prune juice” sort of way, but the people in my head have quieted.

So, I’ve been googling and collecting writing articles on how to finish a novel, how do you know it’s burn out, when the voices in your head go quiet. Then I came across an article that talked about creating memorable characters. And then it hit me, in the past six months I haven’t met a character that has made me turn around and go “wait, wait, let me get my pen out”. Or even a plot I want to see fleshed out. Or even stumbled upon a story/character with enough conflict to sustain a full length story. I’ve learned I can’t write a book with one of these missing.*le sigh* But I think I’ve come across something golden and no I’m not stalling.

Here’s proof of the WIP I’ve tried to write:

In Time: After the hero admits that maybe the heroine does have a ESP the conflict goes POOF! I’m not jazzed about the book and I have no idea how it will end. And the characters have disappeared in that place where characters wait around for their turn to come.

Getting Over Mr. Wrong One: What the hell IS the heroine’s conflict? I know her past, but I don’t know what her goal is. The set up is wonderful and the outside conflict is there, but the heroine is Blah. The hero is funny, but, um, you do need a heroine.

Mora the Witch: It’s a paranormal for goodness sakes! The world was fun until I had to build it from the ground up. And when the writing buzz wears off before the first three chapters are done is a sign of DOOM! I can write the first three chapters in a flurry of excitement, so I know my process, but page 6 and then “zzzz” NOT A GOOD SIGN.

But there is hope (I hope):

1600 Calorie Man Diet (working title and no I’m not married to it.)

1. The heroine is prickly. She’s overweight. She’s prickly. And she actually has a goal, which gives me plot to work from. YAY!

2. Also, because she has a goal I can throw obstacles in her way until the very end and that will create conflict in that magical way it does, but I won’t know until I sit down and get to know her more. But here’s the thing I want to know her more.

3. She has a goal. YAY!

4. It’s a humorous women’s fiction with strong romantic elements, which means I have no idea what it is, which means there is a high chance of a success rate for this book.

5. She has a GOAL!!!!

6. The hero will be in the way of her goal which solidifies his place in this story.

7. I know the four turning points along with the ending. I even wrote it down and wrote THE END just to Squee.

8. SHE HAS A GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But you know what I’m not going to the write the story just yet. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this feeling of knowing where I wanted to go. Or actually wanting to write a story just to see where it goes. My first thought wasn’t “I should write something soon because that’s what writers do and that’s what I should do if I want to get my name out there as much as possible.” No, No, I want to know where this character is going to lead me and where are we going to end up. I’m going to collage this character and this story just so I can start to live in her world. She’s snarky just the way I like them. She has southern roots, which I’m starting to recognize as my signature. (I resent the fact that though I was born in Dallas, TX I have a Californian accent. I blame my parents.)

But I’ve promised myself I will finish revising ISN first. Phoenix is still in my head. I’m grateful because she has kept me company in these long quiet months, but you can only live so long in a characters head before they start to annoy. But that’s neither here or there, I can feel the writing jones coming back and I’m loving it.

P.S. SHE HAS A GOAL! Did I mention that?!?!


Entry filed under: voices in my head, writing jones writing block, writing woes.


12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cynthia  |  July 1, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Woohoo for characters with goals!

  • 2. Pam  |  July 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Maybe if she had a goal?


    29 days!!!

  • 3. raine  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:39 am

    It’s a humorous women’s fiction with strong romantic elements, which means I have no idea what it is, which means there is a high chance of a success rate for this book.

    I love that outlook, lol.
    Let it stew as long as you want. Then serve it up hot.

  • 4. Vivienne Westlake  |  July 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I think we all have moments where the book stops working or where the characters have become dull or flat. What you said made a lot of sense to me…sometimes you loose interest because the hero or heroine doesn’t have enough conflict or doesn’t have a strong enough goal.

    That was my problem two years ago with a medieval paranormal that I was writing. Something just went wonky after page 60 and no matter what I did I couldn’t fix it. I think part of the problem was that the hero wasn’t strong enough and I hadn’t figured out all of the inner workings that made him tick. What made him the sexiest man to my heroine. Also, her motivations weren’t strong enough.

    I’m glad you found a new character and goal/storyline that gets you excited!!

  • 5. Caryn  |  July 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    So glad that things are working for you again, writing-wise. And, yeah, no need to rush into it. Give it some time to build and develop. As for stories fizzling out, I *hate* when that happens! Good luck with your revisions.

  • 6. Sandra Ferguson  |  July 3, 2008 at 4:50 am

    I’m not sure you mentioned it, did she have a goal?

    Gotta love characters who actually show foa a party, dressed and in snazzy shoes like they really want to dance. Goals are good, since they lead to conflict, which is what the writing business is really about. Isn’t it? Read that somewhere and it actually sounded right.

    Loved the post.

  • 7. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Cynthia: I know. It does make you want to do a snoopy dance.

  • 8. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Pam- If only, if only she had a goal.

    27 more days. I can’t believe at the end of the month I get to see you again.

  • 9. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Raine-Let it stew as long as you want. Then serve it up hot.

    Yes. I think I’m going to date this book before I jump into a full blown relationship with it. I rammed into a wall when I jumped in with those other stories. So, yes letting it stew sounds fine.

  • 10. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I think we all have moments where the book stops working or where the characters have become dull or flat.

    You know I’ve experienced that before and I was able to write through it. But the problem was these stories had huge holes missing that I couldn’t write around.

    GMC(goal, motivation, conflict) is very important and I don’t have that for these stories. I’m sure if I think long and hard enough I can find the GMCs for these other stories, but you know it’s nothing like being handed GMC to get you to write.

  • 11. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    As for stories fizzling out, I *hate* when that happens!

    It’s kind of like, “why did you get me all excited just to disappoint me?”

  • 12. Mel  |  July 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Sandra-First, snort, yeah a goal would be nice. And what I’ve learned is that I have to know certain things before I can write a book. I’ve hit walls before and have gotten through them, but I’ve known the character’s goal. I may not have known the character well enough to know what to throw at them next, but I knew where they wanted to end up. THAT’S HUGE, or at least that’s what I’m realizing is a huge thing for me.

    As they say you live and you learn.

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