You have your idea. You have your conflict. You have your characters and you have your story. You start typing and it flows. Until you get about halfway. Now what?
Writers have been facing this dilemma since writing began. That’s why some writers outline their entire novel or work before they even start. It helps them to know where they are going with the story. Writing an outline has never worked for me.
I’m what they call in writing circles a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. I agree with long-time prolific writer Caleb Pirtle III, author of the Ambrose Lincoln series and the Boomtown Saga. I like to see where the characters take me. But sometimes they get stuck. Or I become blind or deaf. I can’t tell where they are going and they don’t seem to want to share with me. I’m just the author, after all.
What do I do about this problem? Some people call it writer’s block. I don’t like that term because it suggests that the river of my thoughts and imagination has been dammed up. I still have the river, I just can’t tell where it wants to go.
Take my work in progress, for example. I’ve titled it Keeper III: The Blackout. My characters Emmalee and Elliott have a good thing going. They are attracted to each other, have started dating, and the relationship is beginning to grow. Emmalee’s old boyfriend Jace has resumed stalking her. Emmalee’s coworker Gilbert constantly gets on her nerves. The power keeps going off at the zoo and in town. Now what? Where do I take the story?
How serious do Emmalee and Elliott become? Will Jace become violent towards Emmalee? What will she do about Gilbert? What is causing the frequent blackouts?
See what I mean? These are questions I want my reader to ask, but first I have to answer them. I best get to work. The solutions seem to flow straight from the seat in the chair to the brain in the head to the fingers on the keyboard.
Stay tuned. . .
2 replies on “A Writer’s Dilemma”
Writer's block and I are well acquainted 🙂 so I feel your pain! But, like you said, the words are there, you just need the dam to break – and it will. Hang in there!
Thank you for reading, Dana Wayne! And thank you for the words of encouragement. We're all in this because if we didn't write, our heads might explode!