My best Tip for Writers Block
WHY INDEX CARDS ARE A WRITER’S BFF
So, recently I finished the first novel in a new series I am working on, known as UNDERTOW. You’re like, “No kidding? I would have never known except it is ALL OVER YOUR BLOG!”
Well . . . let me tell ya a secret: I didn’t write UNDERTOW from Chapter 1 to 24. In fact, I never write from page 1 onward, and by doing so, I rarely hit any form of writer’s block.
Knock on wood.
Care to guess HOW I wrote UNDERTOW?
I did it in SCENES.
Nope – I’m not crazy. Well, I am, but not about this, and here’s why:
Ever watch a movie and you love it because of the scenes? You watch it again and again, not because every second is perfect, but because you love a certain line, a certain kiss , a certain showdown. You watch it for those scenes that play endlessly in your mind, tempting you to make that one movie (or book) climb onto your “favorites” shelf.
Even int he world of film making, movies are not shot in order. They “story-board” what they need to shoot and then go from there. Sometimes they even shoot the last scene first. Where the magic comes in, is how they weave all these independent scenes together.
I basically did the same thing with UNDERTOW. It is what I am also doing for STORMFRONT and CRUEL SUMMER.
See, I tend to daydream, especially when I listen to music. And I will replay a scene (that I am to write) over and over in my head for almost a week before I sit down and start to write it. I know I’m ready to put it down on paper when the scene replays the same, over and over, in my mind — not because I force it to do that, but just because it works so well that way.
Since I write in scenes, I DO need to know (approximately) which scenes I will need in a book. I write these down on index cards. I aim for 1 scene PER CHAPTER, removing as much dull fluff as possible.
Fluff is bad – readers start skimming when you get boring.
I write down a major scene on each index card and aim for 20 to 24 or more. So for UNDERTOW, these were a few:
Elizabeth and Rysse in the Harbor Square.
Eila waking in her new room and meeting MJ.
The first day of school with Raef and Nikki . . . blah, blah, blah.
Now here is where I avoid the writer’s block thing: I don’t write the scenes in order. I write the ones I WANT TO WRITE on any give day. What am I in the mood for? What scene is solid in my head?
Whatever scene you choose to work on doesn’t have to be complete – write the parts that you see clearly. You will always go back and edit and fill out the scene, but the bones are there. Don’t over-think it either, or you will go insane.
Of course, you need to be a little bit insane to be a storyteller in the first place :)