Writer’s Block

What I Look Like with Writer’s Block

Over time, I have come to know that writer’s block occurs when my subconscious realizes something is badly wrong with something in my Work in Progress (WIP). It seems I’m unable to proceed with a “vomit” version when my intuition sends out all kinds of warning signals.

If the problem is with a specific chapter or scene, something specific, it’s less dire. In those cases, I return to the basic building blocks of fiction writing—Goal, Motive and Conflict (GMC). What is the protagonist’s goal? Why is it so important? What is preventing that goal from being achieved? I generally discover the protagonist had no goal or there was lack of conflict.

A problem with the basic concept or plot of the entire novel is much more subtle, much trickier to resolve. For example, my current WIP was originally about a big Hollywood wedding (with a murder, of course). Accordingly, I fleshed out my characters with backstory and motives to kill.

That’s when writer’s block struck.

After much soul searching, I realized that the logical culmination of my book as it stood would be the actual wedding. I had no interest in writing about a wedding, least of all a Hollywood wedding. On studying the characters’ motives to kill, I decided it would be much more interesting if the story involved a location search for an upcoming film. This would open up new settings, more opportunities for action scenes and, perhaps, more deaths. So back to the drawing board. Different concept, different plot, but the same characters.

This time, my gut tells me it’s all good.

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