Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You tell me: How do you get unstuck?

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Can you tell what revision obstacle I'm facing today?

So . . . you are revising your story and you come to a spot where you know it's not quite right, but you don't know what to do with it. What do you do?

Take a walk?
Consult a favorite book?
Brainstorm with a buddy?

I usually go to sections of my favorite books that are a smilar scene to what I'm writing. That way I can see how my favorite authors wrote the scene and it inspires my direction. Some of my favorites are Shannon Hale, Avi, Natalie Babit . . .heck, there's too many to mention.

Apparently I also blog and check e-mails. I guess it loosens the brain. After all, blogging is to a writer what stretching is to an athlete. :0)

But I'm curious. What do you do?

UPDATE: Head on over to Jaqui's Room. She blogged a crazy-fun way to rocket launch yourself out of a rutt!


Catherine J Gardner said...

If it's in an early draft I just put a note 'fix this', if it's in the final draft I work and work on it until I get it right. Oh, and a wee bit of procrastination.

Mary Witzl said...

Blogging and checking e-mails almost obsessively is great. But what I really find helpful is going out into the garden and digging up dandelions. I find that while I'm out there, I invariably think of a way around whatever blockage I've come up against. We've got zillions of dandelions, thank God.

C.R. Evers said...

Catherine, I knew procrastination was really a good thing! I knew it! :0)

Mary, I've never heard the dandelion trick before. That's a good one! I knew dandelions were more than just useless weeds (and good for making chain necklaces) :0)

I made it past my stumbling block today and revised 3 whole chapters! That's a lot for me in one day. That hardly ever happens! Whoooo hoooo!

Brenda said...

When I get up and do the dishes...I know I'm really stuck...grin...

I change the music I'm listening to and eat a little chocolate...if that doesn't help, then I put it away for a little bit and go to the blueboards or read blogs, or play online games...sort of like what I'm doing right now...grin...

Lilfix (blueboards)

Jacqui said...

I'm a big fan of the "fix this later" note. I also sometimes write something like "this is where there will be a touching and funny scene in which we find out..."

Someone once pointed out, though, that sometimes these scenes seem not "right" because, well, they're wrong. We're forcing something or not being true to the story or the character. So sometimes I like to take the scene I think I have to write and have fun with it. Do things the opposite way, have my character react totally differently, anything to make it new.

C.R. Evers said...

Brenda, I'm amazed at the magical powers of chocolate. Aren't you? :-)

Jacqui, That's a great tip about turning things around and doing the opposite and making it new! Thanks for sharing that!

Angela said...

I take a shower. For whatever reason, I can work stuff out in there better than anywhere else. I may have to try the dandylion thing, tho, because I have a bumper crop outside in my backyard *cries*

Mary, if you ever run out, come on over!

Colorado Writer said...

I put a note on it and move on if I can. Also, I sleep on it. Sometimes the answer comes to me in my dreams.

C.R. Evers said...

Angela, come to think of it, I've come up with some idea's in the shower too. hmmmm. . . maybe that will have to be a more conscious discipline. i'll call it my creative power shower! :0)

colorado, Ahhhh . . . I treasure the value of a good nap! Naps truly are for the productive, not the lazy, aren't they! :0)

Natalie said...

Good question! I guess it depends on how much the rest of the story is affected by the one scene. If the course of your MC's journey changes from there, then I guess you'll need reinforcements--chocolate, ice cream, or possibly chocolate ice cream (if you're really stuck), and then you have to keep at it until it's right.

For other scenes, my big question is: Do I really need this scene? If so, ingest chocolate and revise. If not, cut it, then ease the loss of all those words with the aforementioned chocolate.

Another idea that helps me (both in writing and burning off all that chocolate) is to go for a run. Without the phone, kids, tv, etc. it's amazing what the mind comes up with.

Good luck, Christy!!

Carol said...

Ok, Christi. Your blog about your vacation challenged me. I just blogged about my trip to the beach. Check it out!
By the way, how do you get so much action on your blog? I'm impressed with the traffic you are getting. And you never answered my previous question: How do you have time to blog, write, and have 3 kids???

Mary Witzl said...

Here I am right now, procrastinating my way through a blockage. How appropriate, eh? (It's raining, so I'd get soggy outside. The dandelions are regrowing even as I speak.)

Vijaya said...

I'm a big fan of blankety-blank in a ms if that allows me to move on. But when I'm truly stuck, it's as Jacqui says -- it's because I made a wrong turn, somewhere ...

I find that telling myself the story again helps, and usually, showers and naps usually reveal the answer. So does petting the cat :)

C.R. Evers said...

Carol - Your answer to having time to write was in my comments in the vacation/shell post. Writing is my link to sanity. I HAVE to find time for it. :0)

And I noticed a big increase in traffic once I started getting involved on the Verla Kay Message Boards. It's a super duper supportive group of writers over there. You should join in. verlakay.com

Mary - I'm glad to hear you have freshly watered dandelions. You're creativity will never run out! :0)

Vijaya - I love the blankety blank. I think that would make me giggle every time I saw it. :0)