Saturday, August 6, 2011

Novel Paralysis

Everyone has heard about writer's block. Some people say it doesn't exist, others say that it ruined their writing career. Either way, you know what I'm talking about when I say writer's block. It's like you've run into a wall when writing and can't easily move past it to continue writing.

For a long time I thought I had period writer's block, but recently I realized that my condition is worse than that, I've definitely come down with Novel Paralysis, to which there may not be a cure :( But I'm not giving up, I'm going to fight it, and maybe by sharing my condition others will learn from it and perhaps be able to protect themselves from this airborne virus.

I used to force myself to get one project done at a time. If I had a bought of writer's block I would take a break and then force myself back into writing. This behavior wasn't helping my cause, as I was finding myself going months of the year with little to no writing. So then I thought, when I fizzle on one project why not work on the next until I feel compelled to return to the first one? Great idea, right? Wrong. Now I have five unfinished novels and little to compel me to finish them. So that's where my Novel Paralysis comes to play. My inability to finish a novel, to literally come to a completely immovable spot in my fiction, has now become a larger roadblock than simple writer's block used to be. But I haven't given up hope. Because I want to finish these novels, I'm going to keep working forward and find ways to compel myself to work on them.

One way to re-invest myself in my stories is to review old material. By reading from the beginning I can sometimes be excited about the characters again and continue their tales.

A second way, at least for me, is to revisit the soundtracks I made for each book. Yes, as I'm writing I find music that fits key scenes and I listen to it when I need to. By re-listening to these specific tracks I can sometimes get in the right frame of mind to see the story and to want to write it out.

A last way, that I've come up with, has to do with the characters more than anything else. By connecting with characters, I'm more invested in their outcome. I've been doing a lot of drawing lately and I realized that one way to jump back into a story is to sketch out characters. While my drawings are pretty awful, if a character can come closer to life with a visual representation then I'm more excited to write out their story. That being said, after sketching these pictures of my character Dorian from No Rest, I actually sat down and wrote four pages for this story which unfortunately I haven't wrote on for months.

(Dorian deals with a lot of guilt and I tried to show that here. I also show that she has a gun and we assume she knows how to use it. I know that her proportions are awkward. She should be short as malnutrition affects height, but I think this doesn't really look right. I also know the gun is horrible in its representation.)

(Here Dorian looks a little like a child. Okay, a lot like a child, but we can attribute that to my poor drawing skills. Proportions still seem off, but this is a good first attempt and later attempts will look better.)

Hopefully these tricks will help me finish this book because it wants to be finished! I know it is true because I can feel it in my bones...

1 comment:

Keriann Greaney Martin said...

Good luck getting over your writing paralysis :(. I really like your drawings - they are a simple style, but they do evoke emotion. That must be an awesome feeling to write four pages after months of nothing!